President Barack Obama said Friday that addressing climate change and energy will be central to America's standing in the world and economic growth.

During a speech at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Obama pressed the need for investments in science and technology to address concerns over climate change and a diminishing energy supply.

"There may be plenty of debate over how we transition from fossil fuels to renewable fuel," the president said. "But there's no question that we must do all these things.

"The nation that wins this competition will be the one that leads the global economy; I am convinced of that," Obama added. "And I want America to win that competition."

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The president singled out Massachusetts Rep. Edward Markey (D) for having been a leader in the fight to pass climate legislation in the House, and sounded an optimistic note on the fate of similar legislation in the Senate.

"So we are seeing a convergence," the president said. "The naysayers — the folks who would pretend that this is not an issue — they are being marginalized."

The president highlighted projects taking place at MIT as examples of new efforts to increase energy efficiency in the U.S., and touted some of the projects as products of his trademark stimulus package, which Obama said had made historic investments in science and technology.