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The US climate envoy has been criticised by Republicans for taking a private jet to collect an environmental award

John Forbes Kerry, the president’s special envoy for climate change and a former secretary of state, has come under fire from Republican lawmakers for taking a private jet to Iceland in 2019 to receive the Arctic Circle Prize, an environmental prize. Republican critics say Kerry’s actions on climate change are inconsistent.Senator Bill Cassidy, Republican of Louisiana, wrote on Twitter: “Why can John Kerry pretend the rules don’t apply to him? Flying around the world in a private jet while putting the workers who provide your fuel out of work, I don’t think that’s a successful strategy for a climate tsar.”

Republican Senator Tom Cotton called John Kerry a “liar” : “John Kerry told plumbers put out of work by the Biden administration to install solar panels, but he won’t even make the sacrifice of flying on a business jet himself? What a liar.”

Former Representative Mark Walker of North Carolina said: “Is this an award for his hypocrisy or for how many people he has sent into the jobless over the last two weeks?”

Other Republicans joined in the attack on John Kerry.

The national radio and television station of Iceland (RUV) reported that the award was given to John Kerry for “continuing to speak out and urge the US authorities to commit to addressing environmental issues”. But in 2019, Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, who leads the Arctic Circle Roundtable, criticized Kerry, pointing to the fact that he flew in a private jet to attend.

In a 2019 interview, John Kerry defended his actions, saying he had taken steps to offset the carbon emissions from flying. Kerry’s response: “If you can offset your carbon emissions, [flying by private jet] is the only option for people like me, who need to travel all over the world to win this fight. I represented the United States in the negotiations for the Paris climate agreement, and I was involved in this fight for years…… I’m fighting the climate change war almost full-time, and if I can end up offsetting carbon emissions — over a lifetime — then I won’t be on the defensive.”

One US commentator mocked Mr Kerry, saying his response could be summed up as “I am so important to climate change that I take private jets”.

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