A Senate Republican leader has criticized the Biden administration for sending dozens of representatives to the United Nations Climate Summit, including Vice-President Kamala Harris, and several Cabinet members.
John Barrasso of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, R-Wyo. sent a flurry of letters on Monday to members of President Biden’s Cabinet, demanding that they justify their trips to Dubai for the U.N.’s COP28 Summit, which started last week and will conclude on December 12. Barrasso asked why officials could not attend the event using virtual means.
Barrasso, in his letter, wrote that “a significant number of Biden’s bureaucrats” would be traveling around the world on taxpayers’ dime to promote these anti-fossil energy initiatives. They will use fossil fuels to travel and increase their carbon footprint.
“Even though COP28 established a dedicated platform for online participation, federal climate crusaders are gleefully spending the hard-earned dollars of American citizens on airfare, hotel rooms, and fine dining to participate in person,” he added.
Barrasso wrote letters Monday to Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm as well as Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. Also included were Attorney General Merrick G. Garland, Defense Sec. Lloyd Austin, and Agriculture Sec. Tom Vilsack.
John Podesta is the White House Clean Energy Czar, and he will be joined by Vilsack, Harris, Blinken, and Vilsack. Michael Regan, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, and other senior administration officials are also part of this delegation.
Taxpayers won’t and shouldn’t stand for such hypocrisy. Barrasso concluded in his letters to Cabinet Secretaries that this pattern of behavior indicates a disturbing disconnect between public duty and the prudent use of taxpayer funds.
As stewards, federal agencies must demonstrate consistency in actions and policies. This is especially important in areas related to fiscal responsibility and environmental responsibility.
Then he asked a series of questions to each agency’s head. He wanted to know how many officials were going to COP28 and what the estimated costs would be for taxpayers. Also, if there had been any efforts to reduce the carbon footprints of COP28 travel.
Since the start of the conference, the U.S. delegation has been a busy bee committing to various initiatives that aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat global warming. However, experts warn this may result in higher costs for consumers. The U.S., for example, finalized regulations aimed at methane emissions from the oil and gas industry and pledged to shut down all coal-fired plants.
Kerry told reporters on Wednesday that “it’s safe” to say there will be hundreds, if not thousands, of initiatives announced. Many of these initiatives will come from the United States but many others will come from around the globe. I believe it will be an exciting presentation, even though it isn’t happening fast or large enough.
Kerry said, “What’s very clear to me – and I will push this in the next two weeks that we are here to negotiate – is that we need to move quicker.” We need to be more aware of the issue on every continent. “Business as usual” is still too prevalent.
The White House did not immediately respond to an inquiry for comment.