Question from Senator Menendez to Keith Krach, Under Secretary of State nominee
Nominated to serve as Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment, Keith Krach testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on March 27, 2019.
During the hearing, Senator Bob Menendez asked Krach about his commitment to a number of environmental issues. In response to Senator Menendez’s questions regarding environmental policy, Krach said, “I think the climate issue is a very serious issue. I think we all want to leave and preserve the health of our planet for our children and our grandchildren.”
“I do believe that the health of the planet is critical for economic security and also national security. And I believe innovating in the clean tech area holds the key. If confirmed, I will leverage my background in the area of innovation and high-tech to make sure that we mitigate greenhouse gases while protecting our national security.”
Read Life & News’ article on Mr. Krach’s nomination – http://www.lifeandnews.com/articles/white-house-nominates-keith-krach-to-under-secretary-of-state-and-other-key-posts/
Mr. Krach was Life & News’ 2018 Transformational Leader of the Year – http://www.lifeandnews.com/articles/life-and-news-names-keith-krach-2018-transformational-leader-of-the-year/
FULL EXCHANGE BETWEEN SENATOR MENENDEZ AND MR. KRACH
SENATOR MENENDEZ. Mr. Krach, let me ask you. 2019 is a significant year for the U.S. participation in the Paris Agreement because November 4th is the day when President Trump can officially initiate the formal withdrawal process. And November 4th happens to be 7 days before the start of COP25 in Santiago, Chile, which by all indications what was intended to be pursued at COP25 is very beneficial to the United States and to its industries.
Do you believe that the United States should withdraw from the Paris Agreement?
MR. KRACH. Senator, let me put it this way. I think the climate issue is a very serious issue. I think we all want to leave and preserve the health of our planet for our children and our grandchildren.
President Trump has made the decision to withdraw.
I do believe that the health of the planet is critical for economic security and also national security. And I believe innovating in the clean tech area holds the key. And if confirmed, I will leverage my background in the area of innovation and high-tech to make sure that we mitigate greenhouse gases while protecting our national security.
SENATOR MENENDEZ. Well, you know, when the President announced, he said possibly we could stay in the Paris Agreement if a better deal could be reached. I have not seen efforts to achieve that. But if a better deal could be reached.
Senator Collins and I wrote Secretary Pompeo a letter several weeks ago, for which we have not received a response yet, requesting that the Secretary explain how we intend as a nation to maintain our power and influence in a process that we are walking away from. How do you think that that can be achieved?
MR. KRACH. Senator, I think to focus on results. For example, since 2005, our GDP has grown 19 percent. Our greenhouse emissions has gone down 14 percent. So I am a businessman. I think it is to clearly focus on results. And as I mentioned in my opening statement, I really want to focus on optimizing energy security, economic growth, and the health of the planet. And I really believe that innovation holds such a great key there. So, if confirmed I know this is a passionate issue for you, Senator — I would love to constructively engage and continue this dialogue.
SENATOR MENENDEZ. Well, I appreciate that. And let me just say it is difficult to understand how we leverage U.S. interests, for example, in the COP25 — the COP24 hearings are going to take place in Chile. The reality is business, not me. Business is widely regarded as successful and favorable towards U.S. interests. But you have to be there to be able to make the case. You have to be there in international organizations to lead the way. When we have as a nation participated, we largely get to set the standards, and when we set the standards, we get to promote American interests at the end of the day.
I hope that particularly in your unique role that has three significant buckets to it that you will be an advocate of that.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for the time.