"We recognise our role in creating this problem, we embrace our responsibility to combat it. We will do our part, and we will help developing nations do theirs. But we can only succeed in combating climate change if we are joined in this effort by every nation -- developed and developing alike. Nobody gets a pass," Efe quoted Obama as saying in an address to the UN Climate Summit in New York.
"Just a few minutes ago, I met with Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli, and reiterated my belief that as the two largest economies and emitters in the world, we have a special responsibility to lead. That is what big nations have to do," the president said.
Both the United States and the European Union have announced plans to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases, but the policy that China adopts in that area is also key, given that it is the country that emits the most carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
Emerging economies "are likely to produce more and more carbon emissions in the years to come", Obama noted.
Obama announced that he had signed an executive order whereby the US government will have to take into account the effects of climate change on its programs and investments for development in other countries.
In addition, the US administration will offer the countries most vulnerable to the effects of climate change tools and technology developed by US scientists and companies "to help vulnerable nations better prepare for weather-related disasters, and better plan for long-term threats like steadily rising seas", he said.
"The alarm bells keep ringing. Our citizens keep marching. We cannot pretend we do not hear them. We have to answer the call" he said in an apparent allusion to the massive demonstrations held over the past two days in New York to demand more forceful measures against climate change.
The UN Climate Summit, in which more than 100 heads of state and government are participating, is intended to give a political push to negotiations aimed at the adoption of a global accord on the matter in Paris in 2015.