Who wants to talk about climate on a holiday, especially Thanksgiving, when the spirit is generous and food inviting? Not me, I don’t generally volunteer to discuss the matter outside of activist circles; who wants to be a wet blanket, especially on a holiday? It is noteworthy, then, that climate was a topic of conversation this year among friends and family, for reasons I think appropriate to the occasion. The political reverberations of Hurricane Sandy, a new spate of media attention to climate, Bill McKibben’s galvanizing “Do The Math”/ 350.org tour and the promise of quick Congressional action are hopeful signs.

It seems churlish to gripe, but where family and friends see action after impasse,  acceptance winning over denial and a victory for climate action and environmentalists, I see an institution in shambles pursuing a morally bankrupt strategy, and experience a creeping dread. Without even the semblance of embarrassment, we are poised to trot out a climate “solution” devised by Enron based on antique and totally inaccurate climate science treating the matter as a second-tier problem because to do anything else would be, well, difficult.

What is wanted at this juncture is a quick shift from the old public debate, on whether there is such a thing as climate change, to a conflict over whether nonlinear, catastrophic change is underway. It is, of course, and environmentalists ought to be carrying the brunt of the argument, but US environmentalists have abdicated responsibility for truth telling on climate.