By Ben Kamisar
President Obama said that the Republican Party will be forced to change its views on climate change in a new interview with Vice News.
"I guarantee that the Republican Party will have to change its approach to climate change because voters will insist upon it," he said in the interview, released Monday.
"There have been times in history where Democrats have been unreasonable, there have been times when 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. You’ve got one side that is denying the facts."
Obama has been a vocal proponent of tackling climate change through aggressive efforts.
He said that "no challenge poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change," during this year's State of the Union address.
Obama also helped negotiate a deal with China to curb emissions of greenhouse gases and his Environmental Protection Agency is pushing tough rules on carbon pollution.
The president also called it "disturbing" that Sen. James InhofeJames InhofeFeds withdraw lesser prairie-chicken protections A GMO labeling law that doesn’t require English? No thanks! Majority of GOP senators to attend Trump convention MORE (R-Okla.), the chairman of the Senate Energy and Environment Committee and the author of a book that calls global warming "the greatest hoax," took to the Senate floor last month to throw a snowball in an effort to disprove that the Earth's temperature is rising.
The president said congressional committees on the environment typically consist of lawmakers from areas that rely heavily on fossil fuels and that some lawmakers are "shills for the oil companies and the fossil fuel industry."
Obama added that he doesn't fault average Americans for putting their wallets in front of the bigger picture on climate.
"If you poll folks, they are concerned about climate change, but they are more concerned about gas prices," he said.
"You can’t fault somebody for being concerned about paying the bills or being able to fill up your tank to get to your job."
While he doesn't believe he can solve the climate change question alone, Obama said he's hopeful that his push to make changes including doubling fuel efficiency and clean energy production can help advance a long campaign.
"If I’m able to do all those things, when I'm done, we’re still going to have a heck of a problem, but we will have made enough progress that the next president and the next generation can start building on that, you start getting some momentum," he said.