The Obama administration has lately been assuring us that climate change is going to be a top priority during the president’s second term — no, this time, he really means it, guys — and Vice President Biden stopped by the Green Inaugural Ball on Sunday night to reassure the well-monied environmental community that the administration will not be treating it as a second-tier issue (despite its resounding second-tier status among Americans’ priorities, hem hem):

Vice President Joe Biden reassured environmentalists Sunday night that the Obama administration would not let climate change fall by the wayside in the president’s second term.

“I’ll tell you what my green dream is: that we finally face up to climate change,” Biden said during a surprise appearance at the “Green Ball,” an inaugural weekend event for environmental groups. …

Biden offered no details about what the administration’s approach will be but said, “I don’t intend on ending this four years without getting an awful lot more done.”

He added: “Keep the faith.”

It’s the type of reassurance that the Obama administration should probably keep on coming to stay in the environmental lobby’s good graces, because Team Obama pragmatically let the issue fall by the wayside during the campaign season and the extent of the administration’s second-term policies are still unclear.

While it’s certainly too much to hope that the federal government will stop playing venture capitalist with our money in the ostensible attempt to decrease our reliance on foreign energy with renewable “investments” (womp, womp), how much or how little the Obama administration will allow for oil-and-gas permitting and/or clamp down with zealous environmental regulations is still to be determined. The green lobby is looking for even more on the front of emissions and hydrofracking regulations, and the Obama administration is going to have to decide how to balance their demands with the clear opportunities afforded by the shale oil-and-gas boom already underway. Decisions on the Keystone XL pipeline and replacements for Jackson at EPA, Salazar at Interior, and probably Chu at Energy are all on deck here, and I think will provide at least some measure of insight into which way the Obama admin intends to play it.