GOP's Global Warming Skeptics to Take House Chairs on Energy, Science

Barton's competition for the top spot on the committee is Fred Upton of Michigan, who after coming under fire from conservatives for his middle-of-the-road positions on the environment has taken a hard right turn on global warming.

"No matter what we did between now and 2050, it, it, there was no real science to verify that it would reduce the temperature rise that some predicted," Upton said earlier this year. Upton took flack from conservative pundits Rush Limbaugh and Glen Beck when he supported a ban on incandescent light bulbs.

In November, he told Politico he would reconsider his position.

Questioning Current 'State of Science

"If I become chairman, we'll be reexamining the light bulb issue, no problem," Upton said.

Interview John Boehner: Part 4
Interview John Boehner: Part 4

Upton's office called the Obama administration's proposal to limit carbon emissions "the job-killing cap-and-tax scheme that would have decimated our economy."

"Fred is looking towards the future - working shoulder-to-shoulder with Speaker Boehner and the new Republican majority to deliver the changes that the American people expect and demand," Upton's spokesman said in a statement to

On Friday, Upton and Barton released a joint statement condemning the Obama administration's proposed regulations on hydraulic fracturing, a controversial method to mine natural gas.

The final vote on the Energy Committee chair is expected this week.

Scientists are also nervously watching to see who will chair the Science and Technology Committee.

Ralph Hall of Texas is the oldest member of Congress and the ranking Republican member of the committee.

Last month in an interview with Politico, he questioned the current "state of science."

"This administration argues that cutting greenhouse emissions as a policy directive is justified by science. I think (we) will demonstrate and should demonstrate that reasonable people have serious questions about our knowledge of the state of the science," he said.

One committee which won't be getting a new chairman is the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. It's being disbanded instead, at Boehner's direction.

Rep. James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin, currently the ranking Republican, voted against creating the very committee he almost went on to chair.

"By dismantling the committee, Boehner hopes to convey that this is not an important issue and not worthy of House time," the Union of Concerned Scientists' Wentworth said.

In a valedictory address at the committee's last meeting, the chairman, Rep. Edward Markey (D.-MA), promised to keep making climate change an important issue.

"We are not going away," said Markey. "The problems that climate change presents are too dangerous, too urgent, for us to disappear into the abyss of cynicism and lost opportunity."

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