There are few philosophical questions as vexing as the consideration of the end justifying the means. Yet we’re hard pressed to fault the Obama Administration for considering an end run around Congress to support global efforts to combat climate change.

This week a draft of a major new United Nations report pretty much suggested the world is running out of time for political remedies to climate change. And yet many politicians continue to not just deny the science but to obstruct efforts to address the problem. Meanwhile other industrialized countries with more enlightened political leaders are hamstrung by US inaction.

How long do we justify being the nation unmoved by the risk of irreversible environmental damage?

We hate the idea of subverting the role of Congress in a deal of this kind. It should never have come to this. But it has.

Perhaps the deal can be constructed to shame Congress into action. The likelihood of that justifies consideration of other means.