In a speech Tuesday at Georgetown University, President Obama pronounced a series of executive actions to address the widespread problem of climate change.
Calling climate change the “global threat of our time,” Obama will be enacting several initiatives not requiring Congressional action, starting with the Environmental Protection Agency regulating greenhouse-gas emissions from existing power plants.
Florida Sen. Marco Rubio was among several Republicans voicing anger at the president’s side run around Congress.
Soon after the end of the Georgetown University speech, Rubio released a strongly worded response condemning the president’s “job-killing environmental agenda.” Rubio identified his main concern was that Obama intends to make his plan “such a high priority of his international agenda.”
“President Obama has again realized he can’t convince the American people about the merits of his big government agenda.” Rubio says, “and will do what he does best: run roughshod over our Constitution and now try to impose his job-killing environmental agenda by executive order.”
Since many Republicans deny climate change is the result of human activity, it is clear that Obama will not get the necessary Republican support to pass legislation in his second term. That leaves him little choice but to go the executive-action route.
“America stands at a critical juncture,” the White House said in a statement clarifying the President’s climate agenda. “Climate change is no longer a distant threat – we are already feeling its impacts across the country and the world.”
Obama’s Climate Action Plan will use executive power in a three-pronged approach:
- Reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, including cutting down on coal consumption
- Build an America “more resilient” and prepared for the effects of climate change
- Spur international efforts to combat climate change, as well as promoting “clean coal” technologies
Rubio sees the Plan as a misdirected effort on the international stage.
“His international priorities should be focused squarely on preventing a nuclear Iran, disarming North Korea, stopping the human tragedy in Syria, and advancing job-creating free trade agreements with Europe, and as part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership,” Rubio says.
“If he is as successful in convincing major carbon emitters like China and Russia to adopt his environmental agenda as he has had in convincing these same countries to stop Assad’s massacre of innocent Syrians,” Rubio adds, “it will be a colossal waste of time on a misguided effort.
According to Rubio, “pivoting” to climate change will only mask problems with global issues, most recently with the search and extradition efforts for whistleblower Edward Snowden, which makes Obama look “dangerously weak” on world affairs.
Declaring that Obama is “discarding the Constitution and the free-enterprise system,” Rubio ended his statement with a call for supporters to “do everything we can to stand in his way.”
For most of Obama’s presidency Republicans have been fighting the left’s claims of obstructionism. However, Rubio’s last statement could make charges of obstructionism difficult to deny.