Republican presidential hopeful Sen. Marco Rubio told a Tuesday crowd in New Hampshire that he thinks the United States should lead the charge on green energy.
The Florida Republican’s championing of renewable energy could be a clarion call to Americans: The US needs to shake off the rust, get in the game, and be world beaters in all industries, including natural gas production and renewable energy.
“I want us to lead the world in everything,” Rubio said.
He added: “Let’s be number one in wind, let’s be number one in solar, let’s be number one in biofuel, number one in renewables, number one in energy efficiency. Let’s lead in all of these things.”
Rubio, who ranks third behind Sen. Ted Cruz and real estate billionaire Donald Trump in USA Today’s Election 2016 GOP Power Rankings, still wants all types of energy resources to be considered.
He went on to tell the New Hampshire crowd that, in principle, he doesn’t believe in targeting tax credits toward any one form of energy, suggesting, instead, that the U.S. should move toward an across-the-board 25 percent business tax.
Rubio is on the record as voting twice against tax credits for renewable energy incentives.
“Our job is to create an even playing field in our taxes and our regulations, and the private sector will take care of the rest,” he said. “I believe that if we do that, we are going to lead the world in all of these energy resources.”
Environmentalists and conservationist groups welcomed Rubio’s newfound warmth toward renewable energy, calling the senator’s position on green energy a growing trend among GOP candidates.
“It’s exciting that Republican candidates are finally recognizing the incredible growth of our clean energy economy and the broad bipartisan support for clean energy over fossil fuels just weeks before a big election, but it is unfortunate that people like Senator Rubio have failed to act when given repeated opportunities to do so,” Khalid Pitts, political director at the Sierra Club, told reporters on Tuesday.
Many Republicans support an “all-the-above” stance on energy. In November, for example, one of Rubio’s opponents in the 2016 presidential race, Sen. Rand Paul, signed a pledge stating his belief that climate change is real and the best way to fight it is if the U.S. employ an “all-the-above” policy.
“We want all of the above, we want to free up the energy sector and we need to let them drill and let them explore,” Paul said about his fellow Republicans.
Pitts, for his part, tempered his praise for Rubio slightly, noting that the senator “once voted to stop this progress when he voted against job-creating investments in clean energy,” a move, Pitts thinks, could eventually allow the world to move by us in the push to lead on renewable energy.
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