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NextGen Climate invites Marco Rubio to its California offices to talk about the benefits of a “clean, energy economy”

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Marco Rubio can’t escape the Tom Steyer-funded NextGen Climate activist group.

Two weeks ago today, Rubio announced his candidacy for president at the Freedom Tower in downtown Miami. Across Biscayne Boulevard greeting attendees when they left the speech were a group of NextGen activists, denouncing Rubio for his stance on climate change.

Last weekend in Nashua, N.H., where Rubio and over a dozen over GOP presidential aspirants attending the biggest forum of the year, a group of NextGen protesters stood sentry in front of the Crown Plaza Hotel, blasting the Florida senator and the rest of the GOP field, all of whom openly question the idea of global warming.

Now the San Francisco-based group is calling out Rubio for his comments made last weekend regarding the economic benefits of a clean economy, and would like to give him a lesson in person, the next time he visits the Golden State.

On the April 19 broadcast of Face The Nation, Rubio told moderator Bob Schieffer that while he’s unsure of the effect humans have on the climate, he’s certain that addressing the problem would wreck the economy.

“If we do the things they want us to do, cap and trade, you name it, how much will that change the pace of climate change vs. how much will it cost to our economy?” Rubio asked Schieffer on the program. “Scientists can’t tell us what impact it would have on reversing these changes. But I can tell you with certainty it would have a devastating impact on our economy.”

Au contraire, say NextGen Climate.

In a statement released on Monday, the group says that under AB 32, California’s climate legislation that went into effect two years ago, the state’s economy is growing and carbon emissions are dropping.

AB 32 requires California to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 — a reduction of approximately 15 percent below emissions expected under a “business as usual” scenario. Although passed in 2006, it didn’t go into effect until January of 2013.

NextGen Climate says the law has been good for the environment and California’s economy.

“As of last year, there were 431,800 people employed in advanced energy in California,” NextGen claims, adding, “That’s more than in the motion picture, television, and radio industries—and we’re on track to grow to over 500,000 workers this year.”

According to emissions data released by the California Air Resources Board last November, “capped emissions” decreased by almost 4 percent during the first year of the program. Between 2006 (when AB 32 was signed into law) and 2013, California received more clean technology venture capital investment than all other states combined ($21 billion in California vs. $19 billion total for the rest of the United States).

The group says they’re inviting Rubio to visit their office in San Francisco, “to receive a briefing on the California model of economic and environmental success.”

NextGen Climate spent more than $70 million in the 2014 midterm elections cycle to defeat Republican candidates such as Florida Gov. Rick Scott. They weren’t all that successful, but that’s not stopping them from trying to have an impact on the 2016 elections.

Mitch Perry has been a reporter with Extensive Enterprises since November of 2014. Previously, he served as five years as the political editor of the alternative newsweekly Creative Loafing. He also was the assistant news director with WMNF 88.5 FM in Tampa from 2000-2009, and currently hosts MidPoint, a weekly talk show, on WMNF on Thursday afternoons. He began his reporting career at KPFA radio in Berkeley. He's a San Francisco native who has now lived in Tampa for 15 years and can be reached at [email protected]

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