Sen. Barrasso Wants Details of the Financial and Environmental Cost of Sending Biden Administration to Climate Summit

A top Republican senator is demanding answers from the Biden administration about the White House’s decision to send a large number of administration officials to the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Scotland at taxpayers’ expense.

Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) sent a letter to eight agency heads including to Biden’s Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, requesting details on federal costs to send Energy Department employees (DOE) to a summit that seeks to reduce global carbon emissions.

“According to Time magazine, COP26 will be the ‘most expensive COP on record,’” Barrasso wrote. “In an effort to understand the full cost the taxpayers will bear for this two-week international conference, I ask that you answer the attached questions.”

“DOE’s decision to attend COP 26 comes as many executive branch employees have been forced to work from home for more than a year and a half,” Barrasso stated in the letter. “If they cannot go to work here in the U.S., they should not be permitted to attend extravagant conferences across the globe.”

The letter challenges the administration to justify the financial and environmental cost to send so many officials to the climate meeting instead of attending virtually.

“It is rather perplexing that in this new age of digital communication and during an ongoing pandemic, executive branch departments and agencies are unnecessarily choosing to contribute directly to carbon emissions and risk exposure to COVID-19,” he wrote.

The Biden administration put out a press statement on Monday touting their bold plans for reducing climate emissions.

“President Biden is committed to cutting greenhouse gas emissions 50-52 percent below 2005 levels in 2030, reaching a 100% carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035, and achieving a net-zero economy by no later than 2050,” the statement said.

However, most of the U.S. officials took private fossil fuel-burning transportation to the summit, including the president.

Joe Biden
Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden boards a plane at New Castle Airport in New Castle, Del., on Sept. 7, 2020. (Carolyn Kaster/AP Photo)

The Daily Mail observed at least 52 private jets landing at Glasgow, and estimated the total number flying in for the conference at 400, including the leaders of many western nations and multinational corporations.

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, National Economic Council Director Brian Deese, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Environmental Protection Agency Secretary Michael Regan, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, U.S. Agency for International Development Administrator Samantha Power, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Administrator Rick Spinrad, and White House Office of Science and Technology Policy Director Eric Lander are slated to attend a separate U.N. event in Glasgow, Scotland, this week, the White House confirmed to news outlets.

White House climate advisers John Kerry and Gina McCarthy also will attend, the administration said. Officials at the White House didn’t immediately respond to a request by The Epoch Times for comment.

Barrasso concluded his letter by asking for the full list of Biden administration attendees and the cost to taxpayers for their two-week stay in Scotland. The Wyoming senator also asked the administration to provide the related carbon emissions data for the transport the officials used to get to and from the climate conference.