John Kerry, the U.S. special presidential envoy for climate under President Biden’s administration who consistently sounds the alarm on the dangers of global warming, took a private jet to Iceland in 2019 to accept an environmental award.
The climate czar took a private jet to receive the Arctic Circle Prize for his leadership on climate change, Fox News reported on Wednesday. An interview obtained by the outlet found Kerry defending his climate-unfriendly mode of transportation, asserting that private flight remained “the only choice for somebody like me who is traveling the world to win this battle.”
When confronted on the matter by Icelandic reporter Jóhann Bjarni Kolbeinsson, Kerry appealed to offsetting his carbon output and highlighted the other environmental efforts he has made in years past — including the negotiation of the Paris Accords, which President Biden rejoined upon taking office.
“I’ve been involved with this fight for years. I negotiated with 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,” he said.
“I have to fly, meet with people, and get things done,” Kerry said, failing to explain why he opted for a private jet over a commercial flight, as private jets emit an estimated 40 times more carbon per passenger. However, Kerry maintained that his nearly “full time” efforts are “working to win the battle” on climate change.
“I offset and contribute my life to do this, I’m not going to be put on the defensive,” he added. Kerry did not immediately explain how he offsets his emissions or plans to do so.
According to RUV, the chair of the Arctic Circle Round Table said Kerry received the 2019 prize for remaining a consistent advocate for climate-related matters, but he “also criticized Kerry for coming to Iceland for the assembly on a private jet.”
Kerry still owns a private jet via a family company, and, according to Fox, “flight logs indicated that his family’s private jet spent over 20 hours in the air over the past year — culminating in an estimated 116 metric tons of carbon emissions.”
The former Secretary of State said in a BBC interview last week that people only have nine years to save the planet from the supposed anthropogenic impact on the climate.
“Three years ago, we were told we have 12 years to avoid those consequences,” Kerry said. “Three of those years were lost because we had Donald Trump, who didn’t believe in any of it. And now we have nine years left to try to do what science is telling us we need to do.”
In 2006, former Vice President Al Gore famously warned that humans had ten years to take drastic measures to save the planet from climate change, lest we reach the “point of no return.” In 2019, Gore defended his prediction, identifying it as “accurate.”
“[S]ome changes, unfortunately, have already been locked in place,” Gore explained. “Sea level increases are going to continue no matter what we do now. But we can prevent much larger sea level increases. Much more rapid increases in temperature.”
The climate change narrative remains particularly popular among the Hollywood elite, but they, too, share in Kerry’s struggle. NBC’s The Voice star John Legend and his wife Chrissy Teigen, both climate hardliners, boarded a private jet ahead of Legend’s performance following Biden’s inauguration last month.