Biden Admin Did Not Track Emissions From Travel To Climate Conference Despite Executive Order: Report
John Kerry, US special presidential envoy for climate, during a Bloomberg Television interview at the 2023 CERAWeek by S&P Global conference in Houston, Texas, US, on Tuesday, March 7, 2023. The global energy industry is facing a welter of uncertainty and change -- driven by the effects of the global pandemic; shifting geopolitics and a war launched by one of the world's major energy powers; high energy prices; supply chain and infrastructure constraints; and economic instability.
Photographer: F. Carter Smith/Bloomberg via Getty Images.

The Biden administration did not track greenhouse gas emissions caused by its travel for a climate conference sponsored by the United Nations despite an executive order from President Joe Biden, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO). 

A newly released report from the GAO shows that the State Department did not follow an executive order from Biden when it sent a delegation of 259 people to the 27th U.N. Climate Change Conference of the Parties in Egypt in November 2022. The report also noted that emissions related to the same conference the previous year were not tracked. 

“An executive order requires federal agencies to track and reduce emissions from air travel and other sources with the goal of achieving net-zero government emissions by 2050. However, the State Department did not calculate emissions from travel to these conferences,” the GAO said in a news release. 

The executive order in question comes from December 2021, which was after the 26th U.N. climate conference which Biden attended. 

“State officials told GAO that they did not have a systematic way to calculate greenhouse gas emissions from U.S. delegation travel to the United Nation’s Conference of the Parties 26 and 27 or any past meetings of the Conference of the Parties. State is developing methods to estimate future travel emissions, according to State officials,” the GAO said. 

In its official response, the department said that it agreed with the “thrust of the recommendation,” and proposed tracking emissions from official department travel to all meetings. 

The report comes after Sens. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Tom Cotton (R-AR), and Joni Ernst (R-IA) all requested that the GAO look into whether the department was complying with the order. 

“Americans are tired of bureaucrats in Washington, D.C. who don’t practice what they preach when it comes to protecting the environment,” Capito told POLITICO in response to the report. 


“In the Biden administration, the same people who are closing down power plants across the country and forcing Americans to buy electric vehicles are also the ones flying to climate conferences and using fossil fuels without apology,” she added. 

While the Biden administration has publicly demanded a transition to green energy and emphasized concerns about the climate, many officials in the administration have taken heat for seeming to dismiss concerns about the impact of their own travel on the climate. 

John Kerry, Biden’s climate czar was widely criticized after it was reported that his family’s private jet had emitted 300 metric tons of carbon during Biden’s time as president.

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