The interview took place before the fatal shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, an incident that had pushed gun control to a top spot on Obama's agenda.
Obama said his daughters have influenced his thinking about the need to tackle climate change.
“[O]n an issue like climate change, for example, I think for this country and the world to ask some very tough questions about what are we leaving behind, that weighs on you. And not to mention the fact I think that generation is much more environmentally aware than previous generations,” he told TIME.
The comments continued a trend of Obama vowing to focus on climate without laying out details of his agenda.
Against the backdrop of Hurricane Sandy, Obama said in his first post-election press conference in November that climate change would be a focus in his second term.
In that press conference, Obama touted executive actions designed to curb emissions, such as finalizing new vehicle fuel efficiency standards and rolling out the first-ever air pollution limits for new coal-fired power plants.
Congressional Democrats have amplified calls in recent weeks to tackle climate change through legislation. They have said Sandy, a months-long drought and wildfires that ravaged the West this past summer urge action on the issue.
For the whole TIME interview, click here.