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Kerry Defended Taking Private Jet to Iceland for Environmental Award: ‘the Only Choice for Somebody Like Me’

U.S. climate envoy John Kerry speaks at a press briefing at the White House in Washington, D.C., January 27, 2021. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

White House climate czar John Kerry traveled to Iceland by private jet in 2019 to accept an environmental award and defended his transportation choice to a reporter at the time by calling it, “the only choice for somebody like me.”

Kerry flew to Iceland in October, 2019 to receive the Arctic Circle award, an iceberg sculpture, for his leadership on climate issues and being “a consistent voice pressuring the American authorities to commit to tackle environmental matters,” according to Icelandic outlet RUV.

During the trip, Kerry was confronted by Icelandic reporter Jóhann Bjarni Kolbeinsson on whether his use of a private jet was an “environmental way to travel.”

“If you offset your carbon, it’s the only choice for somebody like me, who is traveling the world to win this battle,” Kerry responded.

The former secretary of state went on to emphasize his climate accomplishments, including negotiating the Paris accord for the U.S. and bringing Chinese President Xi to the table.

“I’ve been involved in this fight for years,” Kerry said.

“I believe the time it takes me to get somewhere, I can’t sail across the ocean, I have to fly to meet with people and get things done,” he continued. “But what I’m doing almost full-time is working to win the battle of 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.”

Last week, Kerry recommended that oil and gas workers should pivot to manufacturing solar panels if their jobs are eliminated as a consequence of the Biden administration’s environmental policies.

Biden signed several executive orders on climate change last week aimed at achieving the goal of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050. During his first week in office, the president reentered the Paris climate accord, from which the Trump administration withdrew the U.S. in 2017.

Biden also canceled the permit on the Keystone pipeline, a project that would have created about 11,000 U.S. jobs this year, according to the Keystone XL website. Many of the workers are temporary, but 8,000 are union workers.

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