"Developing nations have real and understandable concerns about the role they will play in these efforts," Obama said today, because those countries don't want to "sacrifice their aspirations for development and higher living standards."
But those countries must participate, he said, because "most of the growth in projected emissions" will be theirs. "Every nation on this planet is at risk," he said.
Obama heralded the work his administration has done on the issue, mentioning "historic investments in the billions of dollars in developing clean-energy technologies," the creation of a national policy raising U.S. fuel-efficiency standards, and passage last month in the House of Representatives of "the first climate change legislation that would cut carbon pollution by more than 80 percent by 2050."
He said developed countries like the U.S. have a responsibility to take the lead on fighting climate change because they have a larger carbon footprint per capita.
"The science is clear and conclusive, and the impacts can no longer be ignored," Obama said. "Ice sheets are melting. Sea levels are rising. Our oceans are becoming more acidic, and we've already seen its effects on weather patterns, our food and water sources, our health and our habitats."
Earlier today Obama met with Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, and climate change and energy were at the top of the agenda.
Lula told Obama that when it comes to climate change, Brazil wants to be with the G-8 nations in committing to a bold strategy to reduce greenhouse gases. But he said the sticking point for Brazil, like other developing countries, is the issue of technology transfers to provide the latest green technology -- solar and wind energy and cleaner fuels -- to aid their efforts to help the environment without harming their already fragile economies.
Obama and Lula also discussed the situation in Honduras, the global economy and Iran. According to the White House, Obama told Lula that the relationship Brazil has with Iran provides a "unique opportunity" to underscore the message G-8 nations approved last night about Iran's responsibilities in the international community.
At the end of their meeting, Lula razzed Obama about the U.S. soccer team's loss to Brazil last month in the Confederations Cup soccer championship.
Chatting with the president in Portuguese in remarks overheard by reporters, Lula spoke enthusiastically about the match, repeatedly using Obama's catch phrase "Yes we can."
The underdog U.S. squad shocked the soccer world by opening up a 2-0 lead in the first half of the June 28 match in Johannesburg, South Africa, but the scorching Brazilian offense came alive after the break and got on the board with a goal just one minute into the second half. Brazil rallied and found the back of the net two more times en route to a 3-2 victory, crushing the American hopes for an upset win, which would have been the most significant US soccer victory ever.
Lula even presented President Obama with a soccer jersey signed by the team -- the No. 5 jersey of Felipe Melo, a defensive midfielder who also plays for Fiorentina in the Italian League.
"Hey, look at this," the president said. "Beautiful. Alright, wonderful. I like that."
Later the president, who played soccer as a boy growing up in Indonesia, gave his take on the loss.