Obama and other officials said renewable energy policies and efficiency were vital to U.S. competitiveness and jobs in emerging green technology industries, warning that these industries can’t be ceded to China and other nations.

For large swaths of Obama’s first term, warnings about the planetary risk and economic peril of climate change were the “B” message from the White House – at most.

Analysts and advocates alike took notice.

“There is a worrying sort of polling conclusion they have come to, that the actual problems – climate change and global warming – don’t poll well enough to talk about, and that creates a very evasive sort of explanation of this issue,” Washington Post analyst Ezra Klein said in June of 2010.