President Obama said he is putting a big priority on his carbon action plan in order to keep fossil fuels viable in a world that is battling climate change.
In an interview with the New Yorker's David Remnick, Obama said "it's not feasible" to think that nations like China will stop building coal power plants.
"And we have a huge investment in trying to figure out how we can help them do it more cleanly," he added.
The GOP has criticized Obama's climate plan, which includes cutting carbon emissions from new coal-fired power plants with the help of carbon capture systems.
Republicans claim the technology isn't viable and that the regulations would kill jobs.
But Obama said that in order for the world's top greenhouse gas emitters like China to cut back, they are going to need help.
"It's not sufficient for us to trust tell them to stop," Obama said.
"We're going to have to give them some help. We are going to have to take some of our research and development on things like clean-coal technology and be able to export it to them or license it to them."