Joe Biden takes heat for carbon footprint at U.N. summit

President Biden is burning a lot of fossil fuels in the name of fighting climate change.

The president was accused of hypocrisy for his 85-vehicle motorcade last weekend at the Group of 20 summit in Rome, followed by his 21-car convoy from Edinburgh to Glasgow, Scotland, for the U.N. Conference of the Parties, or COP26, climate confab. The BBC headline Tuesday declared: “COP26: Onlookers transfixed by Biden’s 21-strong motorcade,” while Fox News dubbed the conference a “gas-guzzling get-together.”

Mr. Biden’s entourage reportedly included four planes and a Marine One helicopter, prompting Sen. John Barrasso, ranking member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, to raise questions about the administration’s carbon footprint.

The Wyoming Republican sent letters Monday to eight senior administration officials asking about the conference’s total cost to taxpayers; the number of executive branch officials and staff attending; and the emissions impact of their travel.

“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,” Mr. Barrasso said in his letters.

“The conference is intended to ‘accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.’ However, these commitments strike a tone of insincerity as a majority of COP26 delegates will have contributed a significant amount of carbon emissions to attend COP26,” he said.

The conservative lawmaker pointed out that many people stopped flying during the COVID-19 pandemic in favor of teleconferencing, a more environmentally friendly option.

“It is rather perplexing that in this new age of digital communication and during an ongoing pandemic, executive branch departments and agencies are unnecessarily choosing to contribute directly to carbon emissions and risk exposure to COVID-19,” Mr. Barrasso said.

The White House delegation reportedly used 85 cars in Rome to comply with Italy’s pandemic limit of four passengers per vehicle.

The Washington Times has reached out to the White House for comment.

Meanwhile, the British press counted more than 400 climate-unfriendly private jets ferrying foreign dignitaries and celebrities to Glasgow, some of whom then took limousines to the conference at the Scottish Event Campus. Among the luminaries spotted in the “traffic jam” of private planes was Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos, who traveled via Gulf Stream jet.

“Conservative predictions suggest the fleet of private jets arriving for COP26 will blast out 13,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide in total — equivalent to the amount consumed by more than 1,600 Britons in a year,” the British newspaper the Daily Mail reported. founder Steve Milloy blasted in a Tuesday tweet the “daily reminder of the rank #ClimateHypocrisy at #COP26. Private jets for us. Higher energy prices for you… sucker.”

Other big names in attendance include American actor Leonardo DiCaprio and British broadcaster Sir David Attenborough, as well as a bevy of royals: Prince Charles and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, better known as William and Kate, and Prince Albert of Monaco. Swedish climate teen activist Greta Thunberg was mobbed after arriving Saturday — by train — for protests outside the conference, telling BBC that she was not “officially” invited.

Secretary of State John Kerry flew to Glasgow from Rome on Air Force One with the president, not via private jet, as some commentators alleged.

The climate summit, which runs Oct. 31-Nov. 12, is expected to draw about 30,000 attendees.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters