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Trump’s UN pick breaks with White House on climate change

Kelly Knight Craft at a Senate hearing.
Kelly Knight Craft. Photo: Tom Williams/ Getty Images

President Trump’s nominee to be the next U.S. ambassador to the United Nations publicly broke with the White House Wednesday, telling her Senate confirmation hearing climate change "poses real risks," USA Today first reported.  

"Human behavior has contributed to the change in climate, let there be no doubt. If confirmed, I will be an advocate in addressing climate change. ... I also understand that fossil fuels have played a part in climate change."
— Kelly Knight Craft statement to Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Why it matters: Trump has rejected the science on climate change and announced plans to pull out of the Paris climate agreement in 2017. Craft's statement to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is in contrast to one she gave in a 2017 interview with CBC Politics in which she said she endorsed "both sides of the science."

Between the lines: If confirmed by the Senate, Craft will represent U.S. interests at the UN, which recognizes climate change as a "potentially irreversible threat to human societies," per the Paris agreement. The Washington Post noted she stopped short of endorsing that agreement.

The big picture: UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has made tackling climate change a priority, calling it a "catastrophic situation for the whole world." He's called for no new coal-fired power plants to be built after 2020 and ending fossil fuel subsidies.

  • Craft pledged she would recuse herself "where coal is part of the conversation within climate change," per Reuters.

Go deeper: Trump's proposed climate panel would include prominent skeptic