President Joe Biden's climate change envoy, John Kerry, flew on a private jet to Iceland to receive the Arctic Circle award for combatting climate change, Fox News reports.
Kerry received the iceberg-shaped award in 2019 for being "a consistent voice pressuring the American authorities to commit to tackle environmental matters."
An Icelandic reporter, Jóhann Bjarni Kolbeinsson, also questioned Kerry for his choice of transportation at the time. Kerry defended his trip by saying that taking a private jet is "the only choice for somebody like me who is traveling the world to win this battle."
Private jets emit 40 times as much carbon emissions per passenger in comparison to commercial jetliners.
He further stipulated that flying by private jet is an acceptable choice "if you offset your carbon," noting that he was heavily involved in negotiating the Paris Climate Accord for the United States. The Trump administration had already notified the United Nations that they would be leaving the agreement by that point.
"I've been involved with this fight for years. I negotiated with [Chinese] President Xi to bring President Xi to the table so we could get Paris. And, I believe, the time it takes me to get somewhere, I can't sail across the ocean. I have to fly, meet with people and get things done," Kerry said. He did not explain why this meant he could not take a commercial airline.
Kerry, however, has spent a total of 20 hours flying in his private jet in 2020, emitting an estimated 116 metric tonnes of carbon, about 25 times as much carbon as the average American driver does per year.
The revelation comes as the Biden administration pushes hard to promote its climate change policy agenda. The Biden administration has already made multiple moves intended to reduce carbon emissions, including issuing a temporary moratorium on oil and gas drilling on federal land.
The administration also cancelled the Keystone XL pipeline, costing thousands of jobs in both Canada and the United States.
Kerry defended Biden's energy policies during a press conference at the White House last week, during which he dubiously claimed that jobs in the fossil fuel and automotive industry could be replaced by jobs producing electric vehicles and installing renewable energy systems.
Fact checks from the Washington Post and Associated Press revealed, however, that not only do such jobs typically pay less than current jobs in the fossil fuel industry, but that there would not be nearly enough to accommodate an industry exodus.