Op-Ed: Jet-Setting Climate Change Scolds Like Bill Gates and John Kerry Just Keep Getting Bolder


It’s easy — and accurate — to call the likes of Bill Gates and John Kerry hypocrites for their jet-setting and expensive meals at the fancy venues in exotic places they travel to for their “philanthropic” work in the climate change arena.

Their actions clearly belie their words. But there is obviously more to it than that.

A hypocrite is someone who engages in behavior that they say is wrong or, in this case, lobbies for laws and policies to ban or restrict types of action from which they will be exempt because of their wealth and position of power. Akrasia, weakness of the will, is rife. Anyone can act hypocritically unintentionally by failing to meet a moral standard that they might hold.

The difference between an accidental or occasional hypocrite and uber-wealthy climate scolds like Gates and Kerry, though, is that the hypocrite who realizes that they are doing wrong will work to change their behavior, to realign themselves with what they value. This is not so for Gates and Kerry.

Gates and Kerry are two of the loudest elite climate activists out there. They don’t just think they are better than the rest of us — they know it. And they are no longer trying to pretend they believe otherwise. For them, being rich, powerful and climate-woke means they are entitled to live carbon dioxide-spewing extravagant lifestyles, emissions be damned!

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When questioned by a BBC reporter about why he flies on private jets everywhere, Gates said that he funds carbon capture and storage projects and “spend[s] billions of dollars on climate innovation.”


In his first year and a half of service as President Joe Biden’s special presidential envoy for climate, Kerry’s private jet alone emitted more than 300 metric tons of carbon dioxide. By comparison, the average U.S. household of four people emits about 7.5 tons of CO2 per year — travel, electricity, gas and waste disposal included.

This means Kerry’s private jet produced more carbon dioxide emissions than 40 U.S. households do in a typical year. And, of course, this doesn’t count the emissions from the five palatial homes, 12 cars and two yachts that he and his wife own.

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Shortly after this fact was revealed, Kerry sold his jet and now claims to be flying commercial, like the rest of the hoi polloi; although one suspects he flies first class. Despite his personal downgrade, Kerry recently defended his friends who made many, many, short, wasteful and fuel-intensive private jet trips to the recent World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland.

It is interesting to note that Kerry sold his jet to the New York hedge fund owners of AV Aviation, LLC. The hedge fund invests primarily in heavily subsidized “green” or renewable energy companies. Evidently, green energy investors — those profiting the most from the climate change scam — also can’t be bothered to fly commercial to save the planet.

Kerry, for his part, told Yahoo News that it’s OK that climate champions burn so much fuel, because they “buy offsets” and are “working harder than most people I know to be able to try to effect this transition.”

Kerry, Gates and their Davos friends’ efforts to “effect a transition” away from fossil fuels are increasing energy prices and the cost of food. In the U.S., the average household spent an additional $2,300 on energy in 2022 due to Biden’s climate and energy policies alone.

For someone like Kerry, the uptick in food and fuel costs is nothing. For the average American, however, it means making serious lifestyle changes to make ends meet. In the real world, this means making tradeoffs between buying food or medicine, or keeping the heat and lights on versus paying the mortgage.

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Kerry, Gates and their ilk are among the few people on the planet who have the funds to make extraordinary lifestyle changes and not be deeply impacted by it. Kerry and Gates could, like everyone whose jobs made them capable of working from home during the pandemic, attend meetings and conferences via Zoom, Skype or other online conference and meeting platforms.

Is it really so important that Kerry — and 20,000 or more of his closest climate change-avenging friends — attend lavish conferences and meetings at five-star resorts in exotic locations, eating meat-heavy gourmet meals while swilling thousands of bottles of alcohol and bottled water?

The millions of additional tons of carbon dioxide the climate-elite jet set emit above the average neighborhood in America each year, with their private jet and limousine/SUV use (they don’t travel from airports to hotels and back in Chevy Volts or even Nissan Sentras) to press the flesh and negotiate in person, certainly aren’t justified by the outcomes of these meetings.

Even if one believes, as we do not, that humans are causing catastrophic warming, not a single one of the climate agreements negotiated at these bloated, carbon-intensive events held each year has produced any measurable emission reductions. Billions of tons of carbon dioxide emitted, and no evidence whatsoever that a single ton has been prevented. Talk about a lot of hot air.

For most people, climate downsizing means making trade-offs, sometimes between essentials, at other times between taking a “staycation” rather than a vacation; eating at home rather than at restaurants; living in densely packed rentals rather than single-family homes; traveling by bicycle, shared ride services or public transit rather than in a privately owned car; and watching commercial-filled movies on basic cable at home rather than going to the movies.

Downsizing for climate hypocrites like Gates and Kerry would be much easier. They can afford to eat only expensive organic, vegan, heavily processed, dystopian meat-adjacent products. They can afford to go totally off-grid. They could turn their third or fourth homes into shelters for the climate refugees they prattle on about incessantly, without their lives truly changing.

Or, less drastically, they could simply utilize the modern miracle of computer technology, which Gates helped develop, to hop on any of the numerous online streaming platforms to give their speeches haranguing average people for not making the sacrifices necessary to prove they are taking climate change seriously. The latter option alone would reduce their carbon footprints dramatically.

It makes one wonder, though, just how much Gates and his ilk, like perennial climate hucksters Justin Trudeau and Al Gore, really believe climate catastrophe is looming. Recently, Gates said that personal choices aren’t actually going to impact climate change. Instead, he asserts that regulation like the so-called Inflation Reduction Act, which seeks to dictate personal choice by making energy more expensive, is the way to go.

In Michael Crichton’s “State of Fear,” one of the main characters, himself an ex-alarmist elite, remarks that “if there’s anything worse than a limousine liberal, it’s a Gulfstream environmentalist.”

In the end, while the hypocrisy certainly exists, it is power that drives the Gulfstream environmentalists. They are aware that they are acting hypocritically, but they think they are entitled to do so while foisting dystopian, dangerous energy and food policies on the rest of us.

The views expressed in this opinion article are those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by the owners of this website. If you are interested in contributing an Op-Ed to The Western Journal, you can learn about our submission guidelines and process here.

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Linnea Lueken is a research fellow with the Arthur B. Robinson Center on Climate and Environmental Policy at The Heartland Institute.

H. Sterling Burnett, PhD, is director of the Arthur B. Robinson Center on Climate and Environmental Policy at The Heartland Institute, a nonpartisan, nonprofit research center headquartered in Arlington Heights, Illinois.