Senate Dems challenge Trump's UN nominee on climate change

Senate Dems challenge Trump's UN nominee on climate change
© Keren Carrion

Three Senate Democrats on Friday called on Kelly Craft, President TrumpDonald John Trump Former US ambassador: 'Denmark is not a big fan of Donald Trump and his politics' Senate Democrats push for arms control language in defense policy bill Detroit county sheriff endorses Booker for president MORE’s nominee to serve as United Nations ambassador, to commit to prioritizing U.S. interests on climate change over her financial interests.

In the letter, Sens. Ed MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyJoseph Kennedy mulling primary challenge to Markey in Massachusetts Overnight Energy: Trump sparks new fight over endangered species protections | States sue over repeal of Obama power plant rules | Interior changes rules for ethics watchdogs To cash in on innovation, remove market barriers for advanced energy technologies MORE (D-Mass.), Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleySenate Democrats push Trump to permanently shutter migrant detention facility Senate Dem seeks answers from DHS on reports of pregnant asylum seekers sent back to Mexico Schumer backs Pelosi as impeachment roils caucus MORE (D-Ore.) and Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseSenate Democrats push Trump to permanently shutter migrant detention facility To cash in on innovation, remove market barriers for advanced energy technologies Democrats give cold shoulder to Warren wealth tax MORE (D-R.I.) submitted a series of questions to Kelly Craft, who currently serves as the U.S. ambassador to Canada and was formally nominated for the U.N. ambassador position last week.

The three senators, in the letter, note Craft’s ties to the energy industry through more than $60 million in fossil fuel investments, as well as her husband Joe Craft, CEO of coal producer Alliance Resource Partners.

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“As our U.N. Ambassador, you would be responsible for representing the United States at the United Nations on matters affecting international cooperation and action to address the climate crisis,” the senators wrote.

"[W]e need assurances that, in connection with U.N. activities related to climate change, you will put our nation’s interests ahead of your personal financial interests,” they wrote.

Specifically, the letter asks whether Craft acknowledges climate change exists and is caused by human activity, whether she agrees with Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement and whether U.S. adherence to international climate agreements would impact her financial interests.

The letter also asks whether Craft believes her and her husband’s financial interests will affect her neutrality on climate issues.

“Should the United States fully withdraw from the Paris climate agreement – which President Trump has announced plans to do – the United Nations Ambassador becomes America’s chief diplomat on global climate change issues,” Markey said in a statement.

Craft's views on climate change have come into question before. In October 2017, soon after she was appointed to serve as ambassador to Canada, Craft told Canada's CBC News that she believes "both sides" of climate change science.

The U.S. Embassy in Ottawa did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.