A top Senate Republican is demanding answers from the Biden administration on the financial and environmental cost of the president’s travel to Glasgow, Scotland, to attend a U.N. climate change summit.
Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), the ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, also wants to know why Biden and federal officials couldn’t have simply taken part in the summit virtually. He sent out eight letters to the secretaries of the Agriculture, Energy, Interior, Transportation, and Treasury departments, as well as to the leaders of the Environmental Protection Agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Agency for International Development — all of whom attended the summit.
“In addition to the staggering cost of the conference, I am concerned that what appears to be a bloated US delegation will prove counterproductive to the COP’s mission,” the letters said, according to the New York Post.
The president traveled to Scotland with a huge entourage, including a third of his cabinet, reports Fox News.
Barrasso said it was “perplexing” that “executive branch departments and agencies are unnecessarily choosing to contribute directly to carbon emissions and risk exposure to COVID-19.”
The letters ask each department and agency for the number of employees attending the conference and how many of those have worked from home at least half the time since March 2020.
The senator also said that it’s hypocritical for federal workers to be working remotely here but attending summits abroad. “If they cannot go to work here in the U.S., they should not be permitted to attend extravagant conferences across the globe,” Barrasso wrote.
Hundreds of private planes flooded into Scotland, bringing attendees to an international climate change summit.
“Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ £48million Gulf Stream has led a 400-strong parade of private jets into COP26 including Prince Albert of Monaco, scores of royals and dozens of ‘green’ CEOs — as an extraordinary traffic jam forced empty planes to fly 30 miles to find space to park,” the Daily Mail reported. “Some environmental activists at the COP26 climate conference will be urging others to cut down on air travel and eat less meat, but apparently it is fine for billionaires to fly in on their own planes on routes already served by commercial airlines.”
The Mail said at least 52 private jets were seen landing at Glasgow airport on Sunday, “while estimates put the total number flying in for the conference at 400. Conservative predictions suggest the fleet of private jets arriving for COP26 will blast out 13,000tonnes of carbon dioxide in total – equivalent to the amount consumed by more than 1,600 Britons in a year.”
Prince Charles, who has strongly advocated action on climate change, was among those flying in on a private jet.
Biden attended the summit after a trip to Rome for the G20 meeting. The Mail said he and his staff are estimated to generate 2.2 million pounds of carbon during his trip to Europe.
“The gigantic carbon footprint is comprised of 2.16 million pounds of carbon dioxide generated by the four large planes that comprise his airborne entourage on the trip to Italy and Scotland, where the president will speak at the COP26 summit on change in Glasgow, with the remainder emitted by Biden’s cars,” the Mail said. “His fleet is comprised of the heavily modified Boeing 747 he travels on, known as Air Force One when the president is on board, an identical decoy, and two huge C-17 Globemaster planes to carry his battalion of cars and helicopters.”
Biden also rode in a massive motorcade when he traveled to the Vatican for his meeting with Pope Francis on Friday. “The motorcade was 85-cars long, due to Italian COVID-19 rules, which only allow three non-cohabiting people – including the driver – per vehicle. As well as the Beast, it was comprised of gas-guzzling Chevrolet Suburban SUVs, and famously thirsty Alfa Romeo cars driven by Italian police. It would have generated around 73.5 pounds of carbon per mile driven,” the Mail reported.
“The policy priorities of the Biden admin are far out of step with those of the American people,” Barrasso tweeted Sunday as the conference opened. “While the president and almost half of his Cabinet are soaring off to Scotland, most Americans would like to see a plan to deal with soaring inflation and skyrocketing energy costs.”
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