January 19, 2017

Udall questions nominees on climate change, financial conflicts

Congresswoman Donna Edwards and Sen. Tom Udall. Photo Credit: Talk Radio News Service cc

Sen. Tom Udall questioned two of President-elect Donald Trump’s cabinet nominees about climate change and the president-elect’s financial conflicts during Senate hearings Wednesday.

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley is Trump’s nominee for U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, and Wilbur Ross is the nominee for Secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

During Haley’s confirmation hearing before the Foreign Relations Committee, Udall questioned her position on climate change.

Trump has called climate change a “hoax” and vowed to withdraw funding for United Nations climate programs. He has also said his administration would withdraw the U.S. from commitments made last year in Paris to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

Udall asked if Haley thinks the U.S. should “maintain its leadership in the Paris Agreement in order to ensure that countries abide by their climate obligations?”

Haley responded: “I think that the climate change situation should always be on the table, should always be one of the issues that we look at. But I do think that when we look at the Paris Agreement, we should acknowledge what we do believe is right. But we don’t want to do it at the peril of our industries and our businesses along the way. … We don’t ever want to do it to interfere with our economy.”

Udall asked again if she was committed to the Paris Agreement and its goals.

Dodging the question she said,  “Climate change will always be on the table for me.”

In the Senate Commerce Committee, Udall asked Ross about how the president-elect’s financial conflicts-of-interest might affect trade negotiations.

Udall asked Ross if it would make his job negotiating international trade issues easier “if the President-elect did as you are doing, and divested his financial holdings, to avoid any complications?”

Ross answered that “the rules are different as they apply to the president.”

Last week, Udall questioned Trump’s nominee for U.S. Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, about climate change and finances.