Stuart Gaffin is a climate researcher at Columbia University and a regular contributor with his blog “Exhausted Earth”. ThomsonReuters is not responsible for the content – the views are the author’s alone.

US Republican vice-presidential candidate Alaska Governor Sarah Palin shakes hands as she campaigns in O’Fallon, Missouri August 31, 2008. REUTERS/John Gress (UNITED STATES) US PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION CAMPAIGN 2008 (USA)I am not a Republican. However, early in John McCain’s campaign for the presidency, I would often say to friends and family-who know I am not a Republican-that if I did vote solely on the one issue I research most, climate change, I would probably vote for McCain.

He came across to me as the candidate who most respected the science and gravity of the issue (perhaps even as much as Al Gore I thought … why else take such a big political risk with his party?) and was prepared to lead America in a new direction. That was then, this is now.

The Republican political machine, in bringing new ‘discipline’ to the McCain campaign, has no doubt also shut him down on the global warming issue. I seem to hear little about it any more from him (“Drill here!  Drill Now!”). His new vice-presidential (VP) pick – Sarah Palin, Governor of Alaska, is just further evidence of this. 

Palin believes that current global warming is somehow unrelated to the massive greenhouse gas buildup in the atmosphere.