President Obama: Don't Condemn our Children to a Planet Beyond Repair

"Climate change is no longer some far-off problem," he said.

“Climate change is no longer some far-off problem. It is happening here. It is happening now,” he warned the representatives of more than 20 countries attending the Conference on Global Leadership in the Arctic: Cooperation, Innovation, Engagement and Resilience, or GLACIER.

“The time to heed the cynics and critics and the deniers has passed. The time to plead ignorance has surely passed,” Obama said. “Those who want to ignore the science, they are increasingly alone. They are on their own shrinking island.”

“Any so-called leader who doesn’t take this issue seriously or treats it like a joke is not fit to lead,” he said. “On this issue, of all issues, there is such a thing as being too late, and that moment is almost upon us.”

And while he issued warning of the need to act, he also cited that the technology exists to help solve the problem and it’s not “simply a danger to be avoided, this is an opportunity to be seized.”

But he was cautious to emphasize that no nation was “moving fast enough.”

“If we were to abandon our course of action—if we stopped trying to build a clean energy economy and reduce carbon pollution—if we do nothing to stop glaciers from melting faster and oceans from rising faster and forests from burning faster and storms from growing stronger, we will condemn our children to a planet beyond their capacity to repair it,” he said.

Obama added that the political will may finally be upon the world to act on the issue.

“We know that human activity is changing the climate. That is beyond dispute. Everything else is politics,” he said.

President Obama continues his tour of the 49th state Tuesday when he tours a glacier in Seward, Alaska.