Jason Hopkins on September 24, 2019

New York Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez flew more than 1,600 miles on an airplane to protest climate change and champion her environmental agenda.

Ocasio-Cortez traveled to Colorado on Sept. 21 to speak about climate change and the Green New Deal at a local high school. The freshman lawmaker headlined the Boulder County Democratic Party’s annual Truman Dinner later that day, where she again spoke about environmental issues and climate activism.

“Nothing to fear except inaction,” Ocasio-Cortez said during the dinner in front of a sold-out crowd, according to The Denver Post. “The only thing we should be scared of is our future if we do nothing. We have to be bold and audacious and ambitious as possible.”

However, her commute to Colorado was not the most environmentally friendly method. She traveled by aircraft, which is a significant source of carbon emissions around the world.

In response to a Twitter user who spotted her Saturday carrying an infant at Reagan National Airport in Virginia, Ocasio-Cortez revealed to her followers that the baby was her staffer’s 1-year-old. She posted a selfie picture inside the airplane in a subsequent tweet and wrote she was traveling to Colorado to “visit families impacted by fracking sites.”

It’s been long known that the transportation industry is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions. Transportation — which includes airplanes, vehicles, boats and trains — overtook the power sector in late 2017 to become the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., releasing 1.9 billion tons of carbon dioxide annually, according to Yale Environment 360.

Even relatively short flights can emit tons of carbon, according to an analysis the Guardian published in July. For example, a return flight from London to Rome leaves a carbon footprint of 234 kilograms of carbon dioxide per passenger, according to figures from German nonprofit Atmosfair, which is more than the average amount of carbon citizens of 17 low-income countries produced annually. 

The distance from London to Rome is about 1,100 miles. The distance from Washington, D.C., to Denver is notably farther — about 1,670 miles.

The two events in Boulder were not the only notable moments during Ocasio-Cortez’s Colorado trip. Along with a group of environmentalists, she visited a fracking rig in the town of Broomfield. She tweeted out a video that showed an infrared camera that she suggested revealed emissions coming from the rig.

However, several fracking experts confirmed to the Daily Caller News Foundation the image was simply displaying heat signatures. In fact, no fracking was even taking place at the rig.

Ocasio-Cortez’s office did not respond to multiple requests for comment regarding this story.

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