President Joe Biden‘s climate czar John Kerry took a private jet to a climate conference in Iceland in 2019 and told a reporter it was ‘the only choice for somebody like me.’
Fox News Channel reported the back-and-forth Wednesday between Kerry and Icelandic journalist Jóhann Bjarni Kolbeinsson, which had previously gone unreported in the American media.
‘If you offset your carbon – it’s the only choice for somebody like me who is traveling the world to win this battle,’ Kerry told Kolbeinsson, who had asked the former secretary of State if that was an ‘environmental way to travel.’
President Joe Biden’s climate czar John Kerry took a private jet in 2019 to Iceland to receive a climate award and told an Icelandic reporter, ‘it’s the only choice for somebody like me who is traveling the world to win this battle,’ Fox News Channel reported Wednesday
Fox News also reported that Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson (left) the chairman of the Board of the Arctic Circle, had been critical of Kerry’s (right) mode of transportation to the 2019 conference
Kerry pointed out that when he ran Foggy Bottom he negotiated the Paris climate agreement, which Biden quickly rejoined last month after former President Donald Trump pulled the nation out.
‘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,’ Kerry continued, referencing the Chinese leader. ‘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.’
‘But, what I’m doing, almost full time, is working to win the battle on climate change, and in the end, if I offset and contribute my life to do this, I’m not going to be put on the defensive,’ Kerry added.
He didn’t explain to the Icelandic journalist how he offset carbon for the trip.
Kerry also didn’t mention the fact that he could have flown to Iceland from the United States commercially.
Icelandair and other carriers fly to the Icelandic capital of Reykjavík directly.
Private jets have been estimated to release 40 times the amount of carbon per passenger as standard commercial flights.
Kerry received the Arctic Circle award, which was shaped like an iceberg.
At the conference, Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, who led the Arctic Circle Roundtable, criticized Kerry for his mode of travel, Icelandic outlet RUV and then Fox News reported.
Former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich reacted to Fox News’ reporting on Twitter saying that a ‘political Prince like Kerry’ would never fly Icelandair commercially, as Gingrich said he and his wife have done as she was recently stationed at the Vatican
So did former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich, reacting to the Fox News report Wednesday.
‘People should quit picking on John Kerry for taking a private plane to Iceland for an environmental award,’ Gingrich tweeted. ‘Do you really expect a political Prince like Kerry to sit in an Icelandair seat with mere citizens (Callista and I found the salmon they serve was superb)? Of course not.’
Gingrich’s wife Callista recently served as the Trump administration’s ambassador to the Vatican.
Kerry, who served in the U.S. Senate from 1985 until 2013, is married to Teresa Heinz Kerry, an heir to the Heinz ketchup fortune, who owned a private jet company.
As late as 2013, Kerry’s executive branch financial disclosures show he owned more than $1,000,001 in assets for the charter company Flying Squirrel LLC, Fox reported.
And last month, the right-leaning news channel reported that the FAA’s registry still showed a Gulfstream Aerospace that was owned by Flying Squirrel LLC.
The company’s address is the same as the Heinz Family Foundation, Fox said.
Kerry is one of two former Obama-era officials Biden tapped for climate-specific roles in the new administration.
Gina McCarthy, the former Environmental Protection Agency head, is now Biden’s national climate adviser.
Kerry, who served alongside Biden in the Senate, was a surrogate for the Biden campaign when it looked dead in the water, as the now president got fourth place in the Iowa caucuses and then a fifth place in the New Hampshire primary.
Like Tom Vilsack, Biden’s Agriculture secretary pick, who also campaigned alongside Biden in Iowa, Kerry’s loyalty was rewarded with an administration gig.
His official role is U.S. Special Envoy for Climate.