‘They Offset’: John Kerry Defends Billionaires Flying Private To Davos

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Mary Rooke Commentary and Analysis Writer
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Former Secretary of State John Kerry defended billionaires flying private jets in a Friday interview where he discussed foreign policy related to climate change.

Kerry, President Joe Biden’s climate envoy, is opposed to the characterization that the ultra-wealthy are recklessly flying private planes to climate change summits, according to an interview with Yahoo News. He argued their other lifestyle choices “offset” the pollution from their luxurious flights.

Kerry spoke about why billionaires still opt to fly private while they lecture the rest of the world about their carbon footprint. He argued such elite billionaires are doing more than most to combat climate change, which redresses their emission effects.

“They buy offsets, they offset,” Kerry said. “And they are working harder than most people I know to be able to try to effect this transition … Aviation as a whole, all of aviation in the world is about 3% of our emissions in the world.”

Kerry argued the narrative of him allegedly flying private while chiding individuals about their own carbon footprint is a “misnomer.”

“I didn’t fly private while I was in this job,” Kerry said. “It’s just a misnomer. I’ve had one, maybe two private flights, which are US military flights in order to get to China during COVID, where we were forced into that. But I fly commercially.”

He claimed billionaires, as opposed to their blue-collar counterparts, will be willing to use a more expensive “sustainable aviation fuel” in the near future to continue their seemingly preferred means of air travel. (RELATED: Your Future Meals Could Come From A 3D Printer, Researchers Say)

“If we’re able to move fast enough in these other areas, that we’re already moving on sustainable aviation fuel, Boeing and United and others have joined in a pledge to us – now 5% of the fuel they’re going to use is going to be sustainable aviation fuel, even though it’s far more expensive than other fuel available,” Kerry told Yahoo.

“They’re paying the green premium in order to accelerate the transition,” he added.

Kerry said it is vital to have the support of billionaires and elites while climate change activists also work to “accelerate the transition” from fossil fuels to other energy sources such as battery, solar and wind power.

“I think it’s important to note. Do they need to be part of the transition? Yes. Do they need to make good on their word about net zero? Of course, they do,” he told the outlet. “But – but we have to be thoughtful about, you know, you’re not going to suddenly wipe out every aircraft in the world and not fly.”