Congress may dither and dig in their heels about whether global climate change is even a real thing, let alone an emergency that must be prepared for. But soon all Federal agencies — not to mention a lot of private businesses that deal with the government — will be implementing plans for adapting to climate change, due to Obama's executive order 13514.

That order was signed in 2009, but you probably haven't heard anything about it. Since it was an executive order, there was no arguing or filibustering or petitions or whatever. It just quietly went into effect, and then this month the president's Council on Environmental Quality issued instructions for implementation. Agencies will be required to set emissions reduction goals, appoint a climate adaptation specialist, and plan to increase energy efficiency and reduce petroleum, waste, and water usage. (And yeah, it did pretty much take since 2009 for CEQ to come up with its instructions for how to proceed. Imagine how much longer it would have taken with congressional action.)

Executive orders have a stink on them. During the Bush years they basically became interchangeable with "doing an end run around checks and balances for nefarious purposes." Which … okay, they are sort of that. But is that more palatable to lefties when it's Obama trying to dodge an obstructionist Congress instead of Bush … being Bush?

If so, surprise! A presidentially-mandated climate change adaptation plan was Bush's idea. He signed an executive order in 2007 that forced federal agencies to become more sustainable. Obama just strengthened and expanded that plan. Bet the House GOP's knickers are still in a twist about it, though.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.