All you need to know about McCain’s core beliefs on climate change:

  1. The 72-year-old McCain named a global-warming-denying, Big Oil Super-Shill as his vice presidential nominee.
  2. His much anticipated acceptance speech never once mentioned the gravest threat facing the health and well-being of the nation and the world.
  3. After walking away from a mandatory cap-and-trade system, he is now running an ad that appears to attack the very idea of cap-and-trade.

I have long argued McCain isn’t the candidate to stop global warming. Every recent speech and action makes clear he does not understand the dire nature of the problem or the clean energy solution.

In his first major decision, he chose exactly the wrong person to succeed him in the not-unlikely event he dies in office. Amazingly, on MSNBC Monday, McCain spokeswoman Jill Hazelbaker cited McCain’s position on “climate change” as evidence he had broken with his party, as Think Progress noted. When Andrea Mitchell pointed out that B.O.S.S. Palin disagrees with McCain on this issue, Hazelbaker replied “Andrea, Andrea. You don’t expect the running mates to agree on every single issue.” No. Just the ones the candidate think are important.

In the single most important speech of his career, when the whole world was watching to hear his priorities, the words “global warming” or “climate change” never passed his lips. His words were identical to a dozen Bush speeches.

And then we have this McCain ad, which is a staggering abandonment of principle:

It attacks liberals for promising higher taxes on electricity — which liberals haven’t done, unless you are treating cap-and-trade as a tax and unless you yourself are walking away from it. This is one of the most cynical campaign ads in U.S. history — and that’s saying a lot.

I’m not certain how you can claim to be interested in protecting Americans when you abandon all pretense of concern for what is certainly the greatest preventable threat to the health and well-being of Americans. Indeed, the head of the Nobel Prize-winning IPCC, Rajendra Pachauri, hand-picked by President Bush recently said:

The cities, power plants and factories we build in the next seven years will shape our climate in mid-century. We have to act now to price carbon and create incentives to change the way we use energy and spread technology — and thereby avert nothing less than an existential threat to civilization.

This is the election of the century.

This post was created for ClimateProgress.org, a project of the Center for American Progress Action Fund.