Obama Compares Himself to Roosevelt: 'Conservation Has Been a Cornerstone of My Presidency'

By Susan Jones | September 2, 2016 | 5:31 AM EDT

President Barack Obama speaks to media as he tours on Midway Atoll in the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, Thursday, Sept. 1, 2016. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster).

(CNSNews.com) - President Obama warned on Thursday that despite his efforts to reduce the effects of climate change, it's "not going to come to an immediate stop."

"We know that there is still going to be an inevitable impact as a consequence of rising temperatures. And that means conservation has been a cornerstone of my presidency."

Obama even compared himself to President Teddy Roosevelt, as he addressed the 2016 Pacific Islands Conference of Leaders in his home state of Hawaii.

"Since taking office, I've protected more than 548 million acres of our lands and waters for our children and our grandchildren. I have to say that Teddy Roosevelt gets the credit for starting the National Parks system, but when you include a big chunk of the Pacific Ocean, we now have actually done more acreage than any other President.

"We've designated national monuments from Maine to Ohio to California. And just last week, thanks to the hard work of many people in this room...I created the world's largest marine preserve -- quadrupling the size of our monument at Papahanaumokuakea. This is an area twice the size of Texas that's going to be protected, and it allows us to save and study the fragile ecosystem threatened by climate change."

Obama on Friday was visiting the Midway Atoll to see a fraction of his new 582,578 square mile monument.

"Seven thousand species live in its waters, a quarter of which are not found anywhere else in the world," he said. "Ancient islanders believed it contained the boundary between this life and the next. Hundreds of brave Americans gave their lives there in defense of the world's freedom. So this is a hallowed site, and it deserves to be treated that way. And from now on, it will be preserved for future generations."

Obama said he's "very proud" of his conservation achievements. And he said the nations of the world are "going to have to tackle climate change together."

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