1. Florida Politics
  2. /
  3. The Buzz

Marco Rubio says Green New Deal not a realistic solution to ‘climate challenges’

In an op-ed, the Florida Republican said Congress should focus on ‘not flashy’ answers to ‘complex issues.’
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) penned an op-ed for USA Today about the Green New Deal. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Published Mar. 25

In a bit of political gamesmanship, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is forcing a vote Tuesday in the Senate on the so-called Green New Deal, the progressive resolution to address climate change.

The resolution has no chance of passing. Republicans certainly won’t vote for it and many Democrats plan to vote “present" in rejection of what they’ve called a stunt by McConnell.

Still, the Green New Deal has become a talker and is an early litmus test for Democrats vying for the 2020 nomination, especially among the Senators who will now need to vote on this tomorrow. And in an op-ed in USA Today on the eve of the vote, Sen. Marco Rubio mocks that enthusiasm.

“It appears the effort to ‘save the planet from melting’ is really just a cynical publicity stunt by people who think America is a planet," Rubio wrote. "Reality check: America is not a planet, and countries like China would happily watch us jump over the cliff by destroying our economy with the Green New Deal.”

Like many Republicans, Rubio latched on to elements of the Green New Deal that have less to do with the environment and advocate for the progressive vision of its authors, including universal higher education, job guarantees and affordable health care for all. Rubio called this “a grab bag of their radical agenda to transform America into the kind of socialist utopia that only exists in fiction.”

(PolitiFact has a well-researched round up of what exactly is included in the proposal. Read it here.)

Instead of proposing an aggressive reduction in carbon emissions, Rubio said Congress should focus on “not flashy” solutions to these ‘complex issues.’ He specifically points to the South Atlantic Coastal Study, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers study that will plan resiliency projects for the southeast.

“In many ways, the Green New Deal makes real progress on complex issues like climate change all the more difficult," Rubio continued. "If the Green New Deal is the new litmus test of the radical left, genuine efforts like the SACS become nonstarters in their eyes.”

Many scientists, though, have said resiliency and climate mitigation won’t be enough to stave off the totality of the effects of climate change and that a sharp reduction in carbon emissions is needed in the next 12 years to prevent further increase in the earth’s temperature. Instead, climate scientists and economists, including several past federal reserve chairs, have said that a tax on carbon is the only way to discourage emissions on a scale that will improve future outcomes.

Rubio’s op-ed doesn’t mention the words “carbon" or "pollution.”


  1. Tallahassee Mayor and Florida gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum talks with reporters before addressing a group of gay and lesbian Democrats in Tallahassee on Aug. 19. (AP Photo/Brendan Farrington)
    Gillum accused Florida’s Republican governor of “routine” voter suppression.
  2. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis talks to reporters in Tampa on Aug. 21. Delays in his filling vacancies on the state's five water management district boards have twice led to those agencies canceling meetings to levy taxes and set budgets, which one expert said was unprecedented. OCTAVIO JONES   |   TIMES  |  Times
    Vacancies lead to canceling two agencies’ budget meetings.
  3. Vice President Mike Pence reacts during an immigration and naturalization ceremony in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House grounds, Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) ALEX BRANDON  |  AP
    Katie Waldman, a former University of Florida student senator, was accused of helping discard independent student newspapers with a front-page endorsement of a rival party’s candidate. | Analysis
  4. Richard Swearingen, Florida's Commissioner of the Department of Law Enforcement, testifies before state lawmakers on Monday. Florida Channel
    But law enforcement officials are getting behind a “threat assessment system.”
  5. Rep. Geraldine Thompson, D-Orlando, urges the Florida Board of Education to hold schools accountable for teaching the Holocaust and African-American history, as required by lawmakers in 1994. The board was considering a rule on the matter at its Sept. 20, 2019, meeting in Jacksonville. The Florida Channel
    School districts will have to report how they are providing the instruction required in Florida law.
  6. The Mar-a-Lago Resort in Palm Beach. JOE RAEDLE  |  Getty Images
    It wasn’t immediately clear how much Mar-a-Lago would charge to host the Marine Corps Birthday Ball — or even if it might do so for free.
  7. In this March 24, 2018, file photo, crowds of people participate in the March for Our Lives rally in support of gun control in San Francisco. JOSH EDELSON  |  AP
    ‘Guns are always a volatile topic in the halls of the legislature,’ one Republican said.
  8. Pasco County school superintendent Kurt Browning says Fortify Florida, the new state-sponsored app that allows students to report potential threats, is "disrupting the education day" because the callers are anonymous, many of the tips are vague and there's no opportunity to get more information from tipsters. "I have an obligation to provide kids with a great education," Browning said. "I cannot do it with this tool, because kids are hiding behind Fortify Florida." JEFFREY SOLOCHEK  |
    Vague and anonymous tips often waste law enforcement’s time and disrupt the school day, says Kurt Browning, president of Florida’s superintendents association.
  9. Tonight's LGBTQ Presidential Forum is hosted by Angelica Ross of FX's Pose. Twitter
    A live stream of the event and what to watch for as 10 candidates meet on stage in Iowa.
  10. In this April 11, 2018, file photo, a high school student uses a vaping device near a school campus in Cambridge, Mass.  [AP Photo | Steven Senne] STEVEN SENNE  |  AP
    "The department does not appear to have the authority to do anything.”