CHICAGO - President-elect Barack Obama yesterday praised former Vice President Al Gore's ideas on the environment as one part of helping the nation's struggling economy to recover.

Obama, Gore, and Vice President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. met privately at Obama's transition headquarters in Chicago for almost two hours.

Obama said they discussed so-called green jobs as a way to boost employment, improve national security by reducing reliance on foreign oil, and reduce energy costs.

Obama said global warming was "not only a problem, but it's also an opportunity."

"We all believe what the scientists have been telling us for years now: that this is a matter of urgency and national security, and it has to be dealt with in a serious way," the president-elect told reporters and photographers at the end of the closed-door meeting.

"We have the opportunity now to make jobs all across this country, in all 50 states, to repower America," Obama said. "... We are not going to miss this opportunity."

Neither Gore nor Biden spoke to reporters.

Gore, since losing the presidency in 2000 to George W. Bush, has become a leader in the movement to draw attention to climate change and global warming. He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007, and his documentary,

An Inconvenient Truth

, won an Academy Award.

He lends Obama instant credibility among environmental activists. Aides said Obama did not plan to recruit Gore to become a formal part of his administration.

In April, as Obama was fighting for the nomination, he lavished praise on the former vice president and said Gore would play a role in dealing with the environment.

"He's somebody I talk to on a regular basis," Obama said in Pennsylvania.

Obama has pledged to use part of his proposed economic-stimulus package to develop alternative energies and green technologies. Aides said the private meeting would help shape Obama's economic policies.