WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Barack Obama has invited the leaders of 16 major economies to Washington for a forum on energy and climate next month, the White House announced Saturday.
Obama, who recently turned his attention to the need for more clean-energy funding, has also asked U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to attend.
The preparatory session is scheduled for April 27-28, the White House said in a statement. It seeks to "generate the political leadership necessary" for a successful outcome at the U.N. climate change negotiation to be held in Copenhagen, Denmark, in December.
"The preparatory sessions will culminate in a Major Economies Forum Leaders' meeting," to be held in July in La Maddalena, Italy, the statement said.
Aside from the United States, the 16 other major economies are Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, the European Union, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Russia, South Africa and the United Kingdom.
Last week, Obama told a group of renewable-energy company owners and investors that the country has "known the right choice for a generation (and that) the time has come to make that choice."
He argued that an expanded investment is needed to lay the foundation for long-term economic growth, cut dependence on foreign oil and slow the process of global warming.
"We can allow climate change to wreak unnatural havoc or we can create jobs preventing its worse effects," he said. "We can hand over the jobs of the 21st century to our competitors, or we can create those jobs right here in America."
The need for new energy sources was a heated point of contention in the 2008 presidential campaign. Obama emphasized the need for renewable-energy development, while Republican nominee John McCain stressed a preference for more oil drilling within the United States.
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