During an interview with CBC, the new US ambassador to Canada, Kelly Craft, claimed she believes “both sides” of climate science.
Asked, “Do you believe in climate change?” Craft responded, “I believe there are scientists on both sides that are accurate.”
“Do you believe there is science that proves that man is not causing climate change?” the interviewer followed up.
“Well, I think that both sides have, you know, their own results from their studies, and I appreciate and respect both sides of the science,” Craft said.
Climate science is not a “both sides” issue
Though several members of the Trump administration, including President Trump himself, continue to cast doubt on humans’ role in the changing climate without providing any evidence, it’s simply not a matter on which scientists disagree at all.
The latest National Climate Assessment, written by more than 300 scientists at 13 US federal agencies including the Department of Defense and NASA, for instance, opens with the statement: “Earth’s climate is now changing faster than at any point in the history of modern civilization, primarily as a result of human activities.”
The report goes on to detail the toll climate change has already taken on health, quality of life, and the economy of the US and how those impacts will mount if emissions are not dramatically reduced in the coming years. “With continued growth in emissions at historic rates, annual losses in some economic sectors are projected to reach hundreds of billions of dollars by the end of the century — more than the current gross domestic product (GDP) of many U.S. states,” according to the assessment.
The Trump administration released the report ahead of schedule on the Friday after Thanksgiving — a move many interpreted as an attempt to bury the findings.
The facts of climate science and the urgency of the climate threat to the US are a nuisance to an administration that has consistently prioritized the demands of the fossil fuel industry to roll back federal policies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions. And Trump has appointed a number of officials like Craft whose allegiance to industry is clear.
Craft has a conflict of interest
In 2016, Craft reportedly donated $265,400 toward Trump’s election and $17,000 to the Republican National Committee.
Craft’s husband, Joseph Craft, is a billionaire coal magnate. A Global News report from 2017 provides some details about him:
[Craft’s] husband is coal billionaire Joe Craft, who’s been called the most powerful non-elected person in Kentucky. He is the president and CEO of Alliance Resource Partners LP, which is among the largest coal producers in the eastern U.S.
Craft was a fierce critic of the Obama administration’s climate policies, getting his SUV’s licence plate stamped with the slogan, “Friends of Coal.”
While the Crafts have a personal financial stake in pushing climate denialism, other prominent Republicans have tried to tamp down on the conclusions of the Climate Assessment by citing concerns about the impact curbing greenhouse gas emissions would have on “industry and jobs.”
But as Vox’s David Roberts has detailed, “[t]here is no consistent evidence that environmental regulations cause long-term changes in overall employment.”