New York Times columnist David Brooks may be a (sorta kinda) conservative. But by all accounts, he also has the ear of President Obama. And in his column today, Brooks — trying to imagine some big initiatives that the president might push as he prepares to accept his party’s nomination for a second term — offers Obama a bold idea: put climate change at the top of his policy agenda.

President Obama has occasionally said he’d like to do something about climate change if he gets a second term. Given the country’s immediate economic and fiscal problems, this seems obtuse to me. But if this is really where Obama’s passion lies, he should go for it.

He could vow to double down on green energy and green technology. He could revive cap-and-trade legislation that would create incentives for clean innovation. He could propose a tax reform package that would substitute gasoline and energy consumption taxes for a piece of our current income taxes. He could say that his No. 1 international priority will be to get a global warming treaty ratified by all the major nations.

This would be a big, intellectually serious agenda, designed to address a big problem.

Well, yes, it would be that, wouldn’t it?