By Michael O'Brien, NBC News
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg endorsed President Barack Obama Thursday, invoking Hurricane Sandy and the president's work to address climate change.

As New York reels from the fallout of this week's hurricane, which caused 37 deaths in the city, Bloomberg said Obama was better-suited than Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney to curb carbon emissions.

"The devastation that Hurricane Sandy brought to New York City and much of the Northeast – in lost lives, lost homes and lost business – brought the stakes of Tuesday's presidential election into sharp relief," Bloomberg wrote. "Our climate is changing. And while the increase in extreme weather we have experienced in New York City and around the world may or may not be the result of it, the risk that it might be – given this week's devastation – should compel all elected leaders to take immediate action."

The three-term mayor and billionaire further lauded Obama for taking "major steps to reduce our carbon consumption." In turn, Bloomberg said that on the issue of climate change, Romney had "reversed course, abandoning the very cap-and-trade program he once supported."

A former Republican who has since declared himself independent, Bloomberg did not make an endorsement for president in 2008. He cited other issues, including Obama's health care reform law, approach to abortion rights and support for same-sex marriage, in reaching his conclusion.

"I'm honored to have Mayor Bloomberg's endorsement. I deeply respect him for his leadership in business, philanthropy and government, and appreciate the extraordinary job he's doing right now, leading New York City through these difficult days," Obama said in a statement.

The endorsement comes, though, amid one of the worst storms to batter the New York area in recent history, Obama's response to which has drawn him plaudits from a bipartisan array of figures, including New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R).

Obama also added: "While we may not agree on every issue, Mayor Bloomberg and I agree on the most important issues of our time - that the key to a strong economy is investing in the skills and education of our people, that immigration reform is essential to an open and dynamic democracy, and that climate change is a threat to our children's future, and we owe it to them to do something about it."