Obama is not the first president to take an active role on this front. President Clinton and his vice president, Al Gore, supported the Kyoto Protocol, part of the U.N. international environment treaty, but they failed to get support from Congress. President Carter also supported stronger environmental legislation.
But the most environmentally-active presidents were Richard Nixon and Theodore Roosevelt, said Gerrard.
"This is mostly forgotten, but most of the great modern environmental statutes were enacted under President Nixon," he said. "Theodore Roosevelt was a famous conservationist who played a major role in the creation of the national park system.
"President Obama is doing a terrific job but he's not the first pro-environment president," Gerrard said.
Analysts say climate change legislation is likely to see the light of day in the near future, even though it may take many more months to formulate. And unlike other arenas -- such as health care -- where bipartisanship has dried up, several Republicans are urging more action on climate. In a New York Times op-ed co-authored with Kerry, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., pushed the need to get speedy legislation.
"Our partnership represents a fresh attempt to find consensus that adheres to our core principles and leads to both a climate change solution and energy independence," the senators said in the op-ed Sunday. "We speak with one voice in saying that the best way to make America stronger is to work together to address an urgent crisis facing the world."