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 TrumpThe Memo: Biden seeks revival in South Carolina Congress eyes billion to billion to combat coronavirus Sanders makes the case against Biden ahead of SC primary 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 MarkeyHillicon Valley — Presented by Facebook — Federal court rules tech giants can censor content | Trump upends surveillance fight | Senate passes bill barring federal funds for Huawei equipment Democrats hit Facebook over gun sales on platform Kennedy, Markey neck-and-neck in Massachusetts primary: poll MORE (D-Mass.), Jeff MerkleyJeffrey (Jeff) Alan MerkleyInterest rate caps are popular — for good reason Overnight Energy: EPA to regulate 'forever chemicals' in drinking water | Trump budget calls for slashing funds for climate science centers | House Dems urge banks not to fund drilling in Arctic refuge Democratic senators criticize plan that could expand Arctic oil and gas development MORE (D-Ore.) and Sheldon WhitehouseSheldon WhitehouseThe Hill's Morning Report - Can Sanders be stopped? Democratic senators ask DOJ watchdog to expand Giuliani probe Democrats pan Trump's budget proposal as 'dead on arrival' 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.