Casten’s flights emitted more than 313,000 pounds of carbon
Rep. Sean Casten (D., Ill.) Collin Anderson • September 24, 2022 5:00 am
Illinois Democratic congressman Sean Casten, who has called the climate “crisis” a “code red emergency,” flew roughly 6,000 miles and stayed in a luxury European hotel to fight global warming, House disclosures show.
Casten in late August and early September accompanied the Aspen Institute on the think tank’s congressional trip to Reykjavík, Iceland, which aimed to provide members with guidance “on public policy issues as it relates to addressing energy and climate challenges,” according to the Democrat’s travel disclosures. The trip saw Casten fly business class from Chicago to Reykjavík, Iceland, and back—a trek that totals 5,888 miles and more than 313,000 pounds of carbon, given that planes on average produce 53.3 pounds of carbon dioxide per mile traveled. The Aspen Institute also provided Casten with lodging at the Grand Hotel Reykjavík—a four-star luxury hotel that includes a “beautiful spa” and “lovely candle lit lounge”—and private meals at a total cost of nearly $5,000.
Casten, who is known as Congress’s “fiercest climate hawk,” has said members of Congress “have a duty to do everything we can” to provide “our children and grandchildren” with a “livable planet.” In the case of his Iceland trip, however, Casten almost certainly did not need to travel thousands of miles on a gas-guzzling flight to meet with many of the climate “leaders” the Aspen Institute assembled. According to the trip’s schedule, a majority of the “scholars” Casten met with are based in America. A pair of “roundtable discussions” on day one of the trip, for example, slated to feature Polar Institute senior fellow Sherri Goodman, Harvard University’s Meghan O’Sullivan, and Rockefeller Foundation president Rajiv Shah, all of whom are based in the United States.
Casten is far from the only prominent liberal climate activist on the Hill who has an admiration for overseas trips in the name of combating global warming. John Kerry has flown more than 180,000 miles in his role as President Joe Biden’s