WASHINGTON — President Obama’s sweeping new power plant regulations are thrusting the debate over climate change into the race for the White House.

To Democrats, rallying around global climate change is a way to energize liberal supporters and paint Republicans as out of touch. To Republicans, Obama’s actions to curb greenhouse gas emissions are burdensome to business and block job creation.

Most of the changes Obama outlined would have to be implemented by the next president, if the rules survive court challenges.

Republicans cast the measure requiring states to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 32 percent by 2030 as unnecessary and costly.

The Obama administration itself estimated the emissions limits will cost $8.4 billion annually by 2030, though the actual price isn’t clear.

Republican Jeb Bush said the rules “run over state governments, will throw countless people out of work and increases everyone’s energy prices.”

Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz questioned whether climate change is occurring.

“I’m saying the data and facts don’t support it,” Cruz said at a retreat sponsored by billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, heavily courted donors who oppose Obama’s climate change agenda.

Hillary Clinton called the measure a “significant step forward” and said she would defend it if elected president. Her Democratic challengers were similarly supportive.

A Washington Post/ABC News poll conducted in March showed 59 percent of Americans said they’d like the next president to be someone who favors government action to address climate change, while 31 percent would prefer someone who opposes it.