"Any successful international climate agreement is going to depend on many nations, including the United States, making commitments to reduce their emissions," said a senior administration official yesterday.
Noting that the domestic actions of nations should be a part of an international response, the official said, "everybody has to step up to the plate. Of course, one of the things we said is we're willing to take steps to reduce our emissions, but we need countries like China and India that are emerging emitters to take steps as well".
The official said steps like development of Climate Action Plan by the US will enable it to meet the types of commitments it made in Copenhagen about fuel efficiency standards or coal-fired power plants.
Highlighting that climate change is a challenge that cuts across many different areas, the official said, "one of those is national security, because as the US President said, this is going to pose increasing national security dangers to the United States".
"We are going to be called upon to respond to conflicts or situations that have connections to climate change. You can't draw a red line, but clearly there has been an uptick in extreme weather events," he said.
He said the US' domestic efforts intersected with its leadership internationally.
"When there's a typhoon in Southeast Asia, when there's a tsunami, the US military is often called in for disaster response.
"As the President referenced today, when there are refugees or conflicts over basic resources like food and water, that ultimately can have a bearing on national security. So there's a very clear intersection, we believe, between a changing climate and our national security interests," he said.