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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

Go deeper

Updated 42 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Here come Earmarks 2.0

DeLauro at a hearing in May 2020. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The House Appropriations Committee is preparing to restore a limited version of earmarks, which give lawmakers power to direct spending to their districts to pay for special projects.

Why it matters: A series of scandals involving members in both parties prompted a moratorium on earmarks in 2011. But Democrats argue it's worth the risk to bring them back because earmarks would increase their leverage to pass critical legislation with a narrow majority, especially infrastructure and spending bills.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
1 hour ago - Energy & Environment

UN says Paris carbon-cutting plans fall far short

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Nations' formal emissions-cutting pledges are collectively way too weak to put the world on track to meet the Paris climate deal's temperature-limiting target, a United Nations tally shows.

Driving the news: This morning the UN released an analysis of the most recent nationally determined contributions (NDCs) — that is, countries' medium-term emissions targets submitted under the 2015 pact.

Biden condemns Russian aggression on 7th anniversary of Crimea annexation

Putin giving a speech in Sevastapol, Crimea, in 2020. Photo: Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images

President Biden reaffirmed U.S. support for the people of Ukraine and vowed to hold Russia accountable for its aggression in a statement on Friday, the 7th anniversary of Russia's 2014 invasion of Crimea.

Why it matters: The statement reflects the aggressive approach Biden is taking to Russia, which he classified on the campaign trail as an "opponent" and "the biggest threat" to U.S. security and alliances.