Energy

Taxpayers Pay For John Kerry’s Antarctica Trip That Has No ‘Diplomatic Component’

REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

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Michael Bastasch Energy Editor

Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Antarctica Friday to see how global warming has impacted the region as part of a nine-day trip ahead of a major Asia-Pacific diplomatic summit.

Kerry became the highest-ranking U.S. official to ever go to the South Pole, flying out from New Zealand and landing at McMurdo Station — the largest U.S. research station in the South Pole. After his visit, he’ll make his way to Peru for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.

Department of State officials said the trip was a learning experience where he’d “receive briefings from scientists working to understand the effects of climate change on Antarctica,” reports the Boston Herald.

A reporter grilled Kerry’s staff on why the secretary of state was going to Antarctica if there was no “real technically diplomatic component” to the trip, and another asked how much it would cost taxpayers for him to “go look around” the continent.

“I will see if I can get you an estimate,” State Department spokesman John Kirby told reporters in a recent press conference. “I don’t have that, but I think any basic understanding or attempt to understand climate change you have to understand what’s going on in the Arctic and the Antarctic, especially with melting glaciers and ice and the sea level rise that can come from that.”

“He wanted to go down there and see that for himself,” Kirby said.

One reporter said there was concern this trip was simply for Kerry to “knock Antarctica off his bucket list” on the taxpayer’s dime.

Kerry has made fighting global warming a major part of his foreign policy agenda as the U.S.’s top diplomat. His Department of State worked with the White House to push an international treaty on global warming last year.

What’s ironic is scientific research shows Antarctica hasn’t been all that impacted by global warming.

Scientists predicted Antarctic sea ice would shrink, and snowfall would increase due to global warming. Neither of those predictions came about, and now scientists say “natural variability” is overwhelming human-induced warming.

“Truth is, the science is complex, and that in most places and with most events, natural variability still plays a dominant role, and undoubtedly will continue to do so,” said Chip Knappenberger, a climate scientist with the libertarian Cato Institute.

“When it comes to ‘good’ expectations, such as increase in the surface mass balance of Antarctica, activists prefer to ignore the projections, and instead claim that recent trends indicate the situation is ‘worse than expected,’” Knappenberger told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

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