Obama said his climate action plan includes an end to tax breaks for oil and natural gas companies, more renewable energy production and limits on carbon dioxide emissions.
"I'm here to enlist your generation's help in keeping the United States of America a leader -- a global leader -- in the fight against climate change," he said in a Tuesday speech at Georgetown University.
British Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change Ed Davey said the agenda was "a decisive step" from one of the largest emitters of greenhouse gas emissions in the world.
"The U.K. will work closely with the U.S. on energy efficiency and low carbon technologies, and on securing ambitious global action on climate finance and emission reduction," he said in a statement following the Tuesday afternoon speech.
European Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said U.S. action on climate policy was long overdue.
"Europe has been eagerly waiting for the U.S. to set out concrete steps," she said in a statement. "So this plan is a most welcomed step forward and, if implemented, it can put the U.S. on a path toward a low carbon future."
U.S. Rep. Doc Hastings, R-Wash., chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, said Obama's climate plan would strike a blow to the coal industry. A Republican-backed plan to increase oil and gas production would "generate $1.5 million in new revenue," though Obama's plan "plan will cost tens of thousands of American jobs and impede economic growth," he said.