Private Jets and Carbon Credits: The Paradox of Wealthy Climate Advocates


When the world’s wealthiest individuals gather in exclusive locations to advocate for significant government actions to reduce carbon emissions, they often encounter the public relations challenge of justifying their use of private jets to attend such conferences while urging ordinary people to limit their own travel to help the planet.

The tool they employ to sidestep accusations of hypocrisy is the voluntary carbon credit market.

For instance, when President Joe Biden’s special climate envoy John Kerry travels globally, emitting 320 tons of carbon (equivalent to 20 years of emissions by the average American), he offsets this by paying others to emit less. These reduction initiatives might include conserving forests that would have otherwise been cut down, planting trees in urban areas, or constructing wind turbines to replace decommissioned coal plants.

The theory is that without the funds spent on carbon credits by Kerry and others like him, forests wouldn’t be preserved, trees wouldn’t be planted, or wind turbines wouldn’t be built.

However, numerous studies have demonstrated that most carbon credits are ineffective, often because the supposed eco-friendly projects were already planned without the financial aid from carbon credits. For instance, the forest might have already been protected by other means, the urban tree planting was already funded, and the wind turbines were already destined to be built.

The carbon credits purchased by Kerry and others are essentially ineffective in terms of environmental conservation. Their only purpose is to help Kerry maintain his public image. And Kerry isn’t the one footing the bill for these credits — taxpayers are.

Almost every major global corporation follows Kerry’s example. Companies like Boeing, Chevron, and even Nestle buy credits to enhance the marketability of individual brands like Kit Kat bars. In reality, carbon credits are nothing more than marketing gimmicks meant to ease the conscience of climate change advocates about their own consumption, which their ideology claims is driving climate catastrophe.

If it were just wealthy individuals buying worthless tokens to maintain social status, or global corporations selling a few extra products by claiming environmental benefits, it might not be a significant issue. Let the rich waste their money if they desire. However, the problem arises when the government gets involved.

Biden legitimizes this deception by issuing a Voluntary Carbon Markets Joint Policy Statement, endorsed by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack, Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm, and climate policy adviser John Podesta. The document’s 10 “Principles for Responsible Participation in Voluntary Carbon Markets” are not legally binding but perpetuate the myth that carbon credit markets create genuine value. It’s riddled with calls for “validation and verification” and market “integrity,” but any effort to commodify carbon emissions is doomed to fail.

Carbon credit markets would be unique in the world, where an invisible commodity is traded without any accurate means to measure the quantities exchanged, making the commodity practically worthless to both buyers and sellers. Both parties are incentivized to overstate the amount traded.

Carbon credit markets are inherently fraudulent, and Biden supports this fraud by proposing principles for their regulation.

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