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GOP senator roasts John Kerry for jetting off to another climate conference

Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, is taking aim at Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry for jetting off to lead the U.S. delegation at the annual United Nations conference in Dubai.

In a statement to Fox News Digital on Thursday, Ernst accused Kerry and the Biden administration of hypocrisy for flying on airplanes to attend the UN’s COP28 summit where delegates are expected to condemn fossil fuels and push green energy alternatives. Kerry is leading the U.S. delegation which includes Vice President Kamala Harris, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, White House clean energy czar John Podesta among other senior officials.

“Once again, the Biden administration exposes the hypocrisy of their own radical green fantasy,” Ernst told Fox News Digital. “Joe Biden’s Climate Czar is jetting off again emitting the greenhouse gases he warns against, wasting taxpayer dollars, and undermining U.S. strength on the world stage. While the Biden administration’s weakness has caused chaos across the globe, President Biden doubles down on combating climate change instead of terrorism.”

“Just another area where he allows China, the world’s largest polluter, to eat our lunch in lip service to the radical green wing of his own party,” she said. “Make no mistake, virtue signaling is no virtue, and Americans have had enough of an administration with their head in the clouds. It’s time for Biden bureaucrats to face the facts, as terrorists threaten the safety and security of Americans, fossil fuels are not the enemy.”

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COP28 kicked off on Thursday and is slated to take place over the next two weeks through Dec. 12. Ahead of the summit, UN officials led by Secretary General António Guterres have raised the alarm about the risks posed by global warming and the summit is expected to garner agreements to curb fossil fuel reliance in the coming years.

During remarks Thursday, Guterres said global warming should “send shivers down the spines of world leaders” and added that the world is living through “climate collapse in real time.” His comments came shortly after the World Meteorological Organization declared 2023 the warmest year ever recorded in an announcement as the conference began and a day after Kerry outlined his ambitious goals for the summit.

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“It’s safe to say that there literally will be hundreds of initiatives that will be announced, many of them coming from the United States but also many coming from other parts of the world, and I think it’s going to be a very exciting presentation of a global effort that is taking place, even though it’s not happening fast enough or big enough yet,” the U.S. climate czar told reporters Wednesday.

“What is very clear to us – and we will be pushing this the next two weeks that we are here negotiating – we have to move faster,” Kerry added. “We have to be much more seized of this issue all around the planet. There’s too much business as usual still.”

The summit comes one year after COP27, last year’s UN climate summit in the luxurious resort town of Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt, that Kerry, President Biden and hundreds of other U.S. government officials attended. 

Following that summit, Ernst and fellow Sens. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., and Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., asked the Government Accountability Office to determine and disclose the total carbon footprint of the trip. However, the agency released a report in June stating it couldn’t fulfill the request because the State Department, which houses Kerry’s climate office, hasn’t created a mechanism for tracking such information.

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In December 2021, Biden signed an executive order to require federal agencies to track and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from travel.

“Joe Biden and his officials say they are addressing an ‘existential’ crisis by participating in climate conferences, all while traveling on private jets to and from the conferences,” Cotton said at the time. “The Biden administration should instead focus its efforts on American energy production — or at the very least, let American taxpayers know about the private travel they are paying for.”

In his role as special presidential envoy for climate, Kerry regularly travels around the world, attending high-profile climate summits and diplomatic engagements in an effort to push a global transition from fossil fuels to green energy alternatives.

He has also received criticism for his use of a private jet owned by his family. According to flight tracking data obtained by Fox News Digital in July 2022, a Gulfstream GIV-SP jet owned by Kerry’s family made a total of 48 trips that lasted more than 60 hours and emitted an estimated 715,886 pounds, or 325 metric tons, of carbon over the course of the Biden administration’s first 18 months.

However, one month after the Fox News Digital report that highlighted the jet’s extensive carbon footprint, and after lawmakers blasted Kerry for apparent hypocrisy, the Gulfstream jet was sold to an energy-focused hedge fund in New York City. Whitney Smith, a State Department spokesperson, confirmed the sale in a statement earlier this year and said Kerry travels commercially in his current role.

Kerry’s office didn’t respond to a request for comment.

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