Nancy Pelosi spent over $500,000 on private aviation travel since 2020 while leading a nationwide call for climate change, calling environmental reforms a “moral” obligation to address.
According to filings with the Federal Election Commission, Pelosi’s campaign paid private aviation group Advanced Aviation Team more than $437,000 between October 2020. Additionally, Pelosi paid over $65,000 to Clay Lacy Aviation in December of 2021.
Private jets are generally considered bad for the environment. Private aviation produces significantly more emissions per passenger than commercial flights.
A recent study by US Energy Information Administration showed that private aviation flights produce about 6-7 times more impact on the environment than commercial aviation. A typical commercial flight with 200 passengers produces about 108kg of CO2 emissions per passenger, while most private aviation flights have upwards of 860kg of CO2 emissions per passenger.
According to the FEC filings, Pelosi spent $67,605 on private air travel months before she said she considered tackling the climate crisis a “religious thing.”
“For me, it’s a religious thing,” she said while leading a 21-member congressional delegation to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Scotland. “I believe this is God’s creation, and we have a moral obligation to be good stewards.”
Pelosi was criticized heavily in September after she said climate change was even more of a priority to examine in China than its mass of human rights abuses.
“Climate is an overriding issue, and China is a leading emitter in the world,” she said.
Pelosi is not the only government leader to utilize private aviation while calling for climate change reform. President Biden’s election campaign spent over $15 million on private air travel during his 2020 campaign.
The conflict of leadership calling for climate change while utilizing travel known for its higher pollution is not limited to the US government. During the November COP26 climate conference in Scotland, more than 50 private jets carried in the world leaders who then gathered to discuss the need for lower carbon emissions and climate change reform.
Often, key leaders and influencers speak of lowering our impact on the planet and ending climate change while refusing to change their habits. Leaders such as Jeff Bezos, Prince Charles, and more have been known to speak on the subject while utilizing the same polluting manner of transport, such as private aviation.
The tactic is to engage in a practice called Carbon Offsetting. In practice, a person, business, or entity can invest money into activities such as planting trees in an effort to absorb the carbon emission on the planet. As such, individuals can enact a ledger sheet that shows a “draw-down” in their potential carbon output.
This has been the continued practice of those like Pelosi and corporations such as Amazon and Apple.
In reality, there is no change to carbon output and certainly no guarantee that offsetting carbon will balance the ongoing habits of those who participate.
What is left? It seems we must address the glaring question when faced with topics such as climate change and policy reform.
Should we vote for government officials who call for regulations and policy change while not adhering to the same principles themselves?