The House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Accountability on Thursday grilled Climate Czar John Kerry on his use of private jets, lack of oversight in Kerry’s office and his upcoming trip to China.
Wyoming Rep. Harriett Hageman, R-Wyoming, applauded the committee’s efforts to scrutinize Kerry and his office.
“John Kerry should have zero budget and his office should not exist,” Hageman told Cowboy State Daily. “Why are we funding a former secretary of state whose biggest concern about an ongoing war is its effect on climate change, while he flies around on private jets which in 2021 emitted 116 metric tons of carbon?”
Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pennsylvania, questioned Kerry about the targets he put forth for global emissions reductions and accused him of “grifting.”
“That’s a pretty shocking statement that you believe all the world’s scientists are grifters,” Kerry replied.
In interviews in the past several years, Kerry had stated that 90% of the world’s emissions come from outside the United States, and that if all emissions suddenly stopped, the problem still wouldn’t go away, as carbon dioxide lingers in the atmosphere. So, Kerry has stated in the past, all emissions must stop and carbon dioxide must be removed from the air.
“How much is the correct amount of CO2?” Perry asked.
Kerry said the correct amount changes every day.
Perry said that the current level is about 400 parts per million, and it was as much as five times higher for about 200 million years in the past. In those periods, life still existed on the planet, he said.
“Did Mother Nature get it wrong for 200 million years?” Perry asked.
Kerry acknowledged that science shows carbon dioxide levels were higher in Earth’s past, as was the global average temperature, but he said it wasn’t caused by humans.
He didn’t explain how naturally occurring carbon dioxide levels are more dangerous than much lower human-caused carbon dioxide levels.
Kerry also was questioned about his use of private jets.
Rep. Cory Mills, R-Florida, told Kerry that he hoped it wasn’t too problematic for him and his team to get to the hearing in Kerry’s private jet.
Kerry said the statement was “one of the most outrageously persistent lies” that he’s heard, and he doesn’t personally own a private jet.
Later in the hearing, Rep. Mike Waltz, R-Florida, questioned that.
He pointed to reports this year that Kerry’s family had owned a private jet, which was sold shortly after Kerry was accused of hypocrisy for using such a high-carbon emission form of travel.
Waltz asked Kerry if he stood by his testimony that he’s never owned a private jet.
“Yes, my wife owned a plane,” Kerry replied.
Waltz asked if Kerry had flown on that plane, and Kerry admitted he had.
“Here’s the issue,” Waltz said. “This isn’t some kind of partisan gotcha. When we are asking Americans to make serious sacrifices as we transition for the common good, and your family and/or yourself are flying around on private jets, that smacks of hypocrisy.”
Kerry then said he doesn’t fly on a private jet and only flies commercial.
“Have you flown on a private jet in a personal or official capacity since you’ve taken this position?” Waltz asked.
Kerry said he might have flown on a private jet once.
With Kerry planning a trip to Beijing, China, next week, he was asked about how climate policy grants China much more lax emission reduction targets than the U.S. and other Western counties.
Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pennsylvania, asked Kerry about this double standard when nations like China, India and Mexico have steadily increasing emissions. Emissions in the West, on the other hand, are mostly steady in the past 15 years.
Kerry said he supports the Biden administration’s goal of cutting emissions in half by 2030, and Perry pointed out that Kerry, as a Massachusetts senator, had resolved in 1997 not to cut U.S. emissions until China, Mexico, India, Brazil and South Korea had cut their emissions.
“It seems that you have abandoned your position that those other nations would cut emissions before Americans would have to make choices between the groceries on their table and paying for these policies,” Perry said.
Kerry said that the world had changed since that vote, and at the time they wanted other nations to join with the U.S. in the effort to reduce emissions. That had not happened.
Mills asked about Kerry’s attitude toward alleged human rights abuses in China. The nation has been accused of using slave labor from Uyghers, an ethnic group in China, to produce solar panels
When asked about the choice between renewable energy and climate change in an 2021 interview, Kerry stated that life is full of tough choices.
“Do you believe the question of whether to import solar panels built on the backs of Uyghur slaves?” Mills asked.
Kerry said he did not believe it and had raised the issue in meetings over the years.
Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso told Cowboy State Daily the hearing was a valuable step to greater oversight of Kerry’s office, especially as he prepares another trip to China.
“China has a friend in John Kerry. He is determined to replace jobs in Wyoming with jobs in Beijing,” Barasso said.
He said that Kerry and President Joe Biden are enriching China at the expense of American taxpayers.
“They want us to be reliant on countries with child labor, low-pay, and dangerous working conditions. It is a destructive and dangerous path,” Barrasso said.