President Obama is putting global warming in the spotlight this week, using his power to highlight a federal report warning that climate change is already hitting home and hitting hard.
The move draws cheers from the left, jeers from the right, and restarts a public debate over the validity of climate science — despite the fact that the connection between greenhouse gases and global warming is settled science for the vast majority of climatologists and peer-reviewed climate studies.
But loud as the argument rages, it's long past the point of relevance.
Obama isn't waiting for an answer. His administration is attacking greenhouse-gas emissions using the Clean Air Act, has pushed new fuel-economy standards for vehicles, and is using a battery of tools to promote renewable energy.
And so when Obama talks about climate, he's no longer seeking permission, as he did early in his first term when he asked Congress for comprehensive energy and climate legislation. He is telling the public why he is doing what he is doing, whether they like it or not.
On Tuesday, Obama will talk climate change in a series of interviews with meteorologists-turned-television personalities, including The Today Show's Al Roker, to tout the National Climate Assessment. John Podesta, a senior adviser to the president on climate, is also set to promote the report at an event later in the day — and senior administration officials will travel around the country to talk energy and climate throughout the week.