GOP Senator Demands Answers On Expenses For ‘Biden Bureaucrats’ Traveling To UN Climate Confab

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Nick Pope Contributor
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Republican Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso sent numerous letters Monday to Biden administration cabinet officials demanding answers about the expenses of their agencies’ participation in this year’s United Nations (UN) climate conference, known as COP28.

Barrasso sent a letter to the head of each agency in President Joe Biden’s cabinet, including individuals like Energy Secretary Jenifer Granholm and Environmental Protection Agency head Michael Regan, asking questions about the use of taxpayer dollars to pay for travel and lodging in Dubai for COP28, where delegates from around the world are meeting to discuss climate change and a global green energy transition. The letters, which all have the same body, ask the bureaucrats to disclose how many of their underlings are attending COP28, a full accounting of the costs of their attendance, the amount of carbon emissions created from agency employees’ travel and any efforts made to offset those emissions.

“A significant number of Biden bureaucrats will be traveling across the globe on the taxpayer dime, all in an effort to advocate for these anti-fossil fuel initiatives,” Barrasso wrote in the letters. “They will, of course, utilize fossil fuels throughout their travels while ballooning their own carbon footprint. Even though COP28 has established a dedicated virtual platform to foster online participation, federal climate crusaders will gleefully spend the hard-earned money of the American people on airfare, hotels and fine dining as they participate in person.” (RELATED: Biden Admin Pledges Millions To International ‘Climate Reparations’ Fund)

Sen. Barrasso COP28 Letters by Nick Pope

Barrasso’s letter is notable in light of a 2021 executive order signed by Biden, which mandates that all federal agencies keep track of the emissions that their official activities generate. The State Department failed to record carbon emissions generated by flights ferrying federal officials to COP summits in 2021 and 2022, according to a June report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

Barrasso also asked the agency heads to provide a list of agency employees attending COP28 who have also worked remotely at least 50% of the time since March 2020. The question is in reference to a September report from the GAO which found that most federal agency office buildings remain underutilized as agency employees continue to work remotely despite the pandemic’s conclusion.

Barrasso’s last question to each of the recipients, pertaining to possible efforts undertaken to offset the emissions of COP28-related travel, asks if it would simply have been easier to offset the emissions by sending fewer employees to attend the conference.

Away from the accusations of hypocrisy, the conference’s president, Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, has also come under fire for his ties to two state-owned energy companies. Leaked documents show that Emirati officials intended to use COP28-related meetings to discuss business related to the two firms, and separate documents reveal that the companies also considered Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry as an important part of their plans to improve their longer-term market prospects.

The Department of Transportation will directly respond to Barrasso’s inquiry rather than via the press, an agency spokesperson told the Daily Caller News Foundation, and the Department of Justice confirmed that it had received the letter but declined to comment further. The White House and all the other agencies Barrasso wrote to did not respond immediately to requests for comment.

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