Al Gore seen nodding in approval.

(E2 Wire) — President Obama said Wednesday that policies to curb carbon emissions bring economic benefits but acknowledged that crafting an international deal that imposes commitments on China and India will be a “tough slog.”

Obama, at a press conference with Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, touted U.S. policies including increased auto efficiency standards and green energy research investments.

“As we move forward over the next several years, my hope is, is that the United States, as one of several countries with a big carbon footprint, can find further ways to reduce our carbon emissions,” Obama said in Canberra, Australia.

“I think that’s good for the world. I actually think, over the long term, it’s good for our economies as well, because it’s my strong belief that industries, utilities, individual consumers — we’re all going to have to adapt how we use energy and how we think about carbon,” Obama added, according to a White House transcript.

But Obama faces a tough road on climate policy.

Domestically, cap-and-trade legislation collapsed on Capitol Hill last year, and prospects for a binding international deal on emissions limits have faded in recent years.

Obama noted Australia, which is moving ahead with a carbon pricing and trading system, is pursuing a “bold strategy” and also affirmed his belief in the threat of climate change.

“I share the view of your prime minister and most scientists in the world that climate change is a real problem and that human activity is contributing to it, and that we all have a responsibility to find ways to reduce our carbon emissions,” Obama said.

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