"The challenges of conservation and combating climate change are connected, they're linked," Obama said during a stop in Lake Tahoe, the deep alpine lake in the Sierra Nevada mountains on the Nevada-California border.
He was interrupted by protesters yelling: "Keep it in the ground," a campaign to limit fossil fuel production.
Obama, who is racing to cement his legacy on climate change before his presidency ends on Jan. 20, will venture to the Midway Atoll on Thursday, deep inside the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument, where he expanded protections last week.
The tour leads up to a meeting in China on Saturday with Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is hosting the G20 group of leading economies.
Obama and Xi worked together last year to secure a global deal in Paris to cut carbon emissions and are expected to take the next steps soon to help bring the agreement into force.
At a Nevada summit on the health of Lake Tahoe, whose average surface temperature reached an all-time recorded high last year, Obama said he was proud his administration had invested in solar and wind power.
"It's been the smart and right thing to do," he said.
Green groups have urged Obama not to rest on his laurels. The U.S. Supreme Court put his plan to slash carbon emissions from power plants on hold earlier this year.
"We're hoping that he will actually withdraw the Arctic from his five-year plan on offshore drilling, like he did with the Atlantic, because it's an even worse place to drill," said marine biologist Jackie Savitz of the Oceana conservation group.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)