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John Kerry: Envoy for climate still owns private jet, says report, but asks ex-coal workers to make solar panel

Kerry raised eyebrows when he said fossil fuel workers who lose their jobs due to new climate policies would 'have better choices' under a Joe Biden administration
John Kerry flies from a campaign stop (Getty Images)
John Kerry flies from a campaign stop (Getty Images)

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) records reportedly reveal that the family of US Special Envoy for Climate John Kerry still owns a private jet. According to a report by Fox News on January 27 that cited the FAA's registry, a Gulfstream Aerospace jet is currently owned by Flying Squirrel LLC — Kerry's wife Teresa Heinz-Kerry’s private charter jet company. The plane's registration certificate was issued in July 2005 and is valid up to October 2023, per FAA records.

Kerry raised eyebrows on January 27 when he said fossil fuel workers who lose their jobs due to new climate policies would "have better choices" under a Joe Biden administration, such as manufacturing solar panels.

President Joe Biden greets Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry (Getty Images)

“You look at the consequences of black lung for a miner, for instance, and measure that against the fastest-growing job in the United States before Covid was solar power technician,” he said during a news conference. “The same people can do those jobs. But the choice of doing the solar power one now is a better choice. Coal plants have been closing over the last 20 years. So what President Biden wants to do is make sure those folks have better choices, that they have alternatives, and they can be the people who go to work to make the solar panels," he added.

Fox News noted it was unclear if Kerry benefited from his wife's company, albeit the former Democratic presidential nominee reportedly made 60 payments to the charter jet company during his 2004 presidential bid. According to Kerry's executive branch personnel financial disclosure, he owned "over $1,000,001” in assets for “Flying Squirrel LLC” in 2013, Fox News reported.

Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton attacked Kerry for his own practices and their impact on the environment. “John Kerry — who flies in private jets, owned a 76-foot yacht and several mansions — has the carbon footprint of a small nation. Yet he tells energy workers to ‘make solar panels’ when the Biden administration kills their jobs,” Cotton tweeted.


It's worth noting that private jets can emit up to 20 times more carbon per passenger than the average commercial airliner. That said, there are countless examples of climate activists using private jets for convenience. In 2016, actor Leonardo DiCaprio burned the equivalent of nearly 90 tons of coal when he took a private jet on an 8,000-mile round-trip flight from France to New York City to pick up an environmental award, the Daily Caller reported.

Similarly, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders grabbed headlines last year after spending over $1.2 million on "luxury" air travel in just one-quarter of the last election cycle. According to a report in the Washington Free Beacon, filings from the Vermont Senator revealed $1,199,579 in spending in the final three months of 2019 to Apollo Jets, LLC, a “luxury private jet charter service." Sanders’ campaign also reportedly spent an additional $23,941 for transportation to the Advanced Aviation Team, Virginia.

Only President Joe Biden, one of Sanders’ main challengers at the time, came close. The Delaware Democrat's campaign reportedly spent $1,040,698 on the Advanced Aviation Team last quarter. Beacon also reported about the private jet spending in filings from other top Democratic presidential candidates. Elizabeth Warren’s campaign spent $720,518 while former South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg's campaign spent $323,518. Even Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire candidate who self-funded his campaign, spent about half of that of Sanders — $646,000. 

Last February, John Legend and his wife, global warming activist Chrissy Teigen, faced backlash after they flew 500 miles on a private jet to have dinner for Valentine's Day. Back in 2015, Legend had taken to Twitter to warn his followers that "We CANNOT elect a president who isn’t serious about climate change." Legend and Teigen are among many elites in Hollywood who often use private air travel despite repeatedly sounding the alarm on the climate change crisis.