President Obama told Vice News that the Republican Party will have to “outgrow” its “phase” of resisting climate-change initiatives because voters will insist upon it.
Obama also called it “disturbing” that Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) threw a snowball on the Senate floor in a recent speech against climate change theories.
“What keeps me optimistic is you talk to Malia and Sasha, you know, 16 and 13, and the sophistication and awareness that they have about environmental issues compared to my generation or yours, they’re way ahead of the game,” Obama said.
“There’s always going to be resistance to change. And some of that is going to be generational. I guarantee you that the Republican Party will have to change its approach to climate change because voters will insist upon it.”
The president said that some people are resistant to climate change policies because they’re “concerned about paying the bills or being able to fill up your tank” and some are “elected officials who are shills for the oil companies or the fossil fuel industry and there’s a lot of money involved.”
“On climate change, 90 percent of Democrats agree with me. And 90 percent of Republicans oppose any action on it. And a sizable portion of their party deny it even exists. There have been times in history where Democrats have been unreasonable. There have been times where Republicans have led the way. But right now, on a lot of the issues that young people care about, it’s not both sides arguing and creating gridlock,” he said. “You’ve got one side that is denying the facts who are often motivated principally by opposing whatever it is that I propose. How — that’s not inevitable to our democracy, that’s a phase that the Republican Party’s going through right now. And it’ll outgrow that phase.”
Obama stressed that “the pace of change globally is so quick that we may not have the luxury of 20 years or 10 years of not getting a lot done if we want to deal with not just climate change, but the potential for pandemic, with terrorism, with the challenges around cybersecurity.”
The president also addressed the 47 GOP senators who recently wrote an open letter to the ayatollahs about nuclear negotiations, claiming “they were effectively making common cause with the hardliners in Iran, who also don’t want any kind of diplomatic resolution, because they’re invested in getting a nuclear weapon.”
“For them to address a letter to the ayatollah, the supreme leader of Iran, who they claim is our mortal enemy, and their basic argument to them is, ‘don’t deal with our president, because you can’t trust him to follow through on an agreement,’ it’s close to unprecedented,” Obama said.
“…So, this is a good example, I think, of where the state of our politics that leads Republicans to be more worried about a Tea Party primary than they are about what ordinary folks are thinking. It damages the country, it damages our standing, it’s not productive. In this day and age, where we’ve got such big issues, we can’t afford it.”