Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker John Boehner and Sen. Jim Inhofe, who is expected to chair the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, slammed the agreement in statements released shortly after the deal was announced Wednesday.
"Our economy can't take the President's ideological War on Coal that will increase the squeeze on middle-class families and struggling miners," McConnell, who hails from the coal state of Kentucky, said. "This unrealistic plan, that the President would dump on his successor, would ensure higher utility rates and far fewer jobs."
President Barack Obama announced Wednesday with Chinese President Xi Jinping that the U.S. will cut its 2005 level of carbon emissions by 26-28% by 2025 while China committed to creating more energy from zero-emission sources and begin reducing its emissions footprint by 2030.
"And it is the latest example of the president's crusade against affordable, reliable energy that is already hurting jobs and squeezing middle-class families," Boehner said in a statement Wednesday.
Inhofe criticized the deal as unfair and knocked the Chinese pledge to produce 20% of its energy from zero-emission sources as "hollow and not believeable."
"The United States will be required to more steeply reduce our carbon emissions while China won't have to reduce anything," Inhofe said.
China overtook the U.S. within the last decade as the world's top polluter following decades of the U.S. as the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases.
McConnell and Inhofe called attention to the midterm election results, both noting that "the American people spoke up against" Obama's policies.
The two senators also made a pledge of their own, vowing to rein in regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency, a common target for Republicans.
McConnell will take the helm of a freshly won Republican majority in the Senate in January. And while McConnell and Obama have both vowed to try and work together, climate change regulation is likely to remain a contentious point with little common ground between Obama and GOP leaders.
The agreement does not require congressional ratification, but a senior Obama administration official said "leading climate deniers" in the GOP could try and stop the initiative through legislation.
"Congress may try to stop us, but we believe that with control of Congress changing hands we can proceed with the authority we already have," the official said.
The plan will also offer incentives in the United States to build up solar and wind power.
"Consumers and businesses will save literally billions of dollars," a senior administration official said.