FIRST ON FOX: The Biden administration funded a foreign "reporting tour" last year, sponsoring several overseas journalists who cover climate change, internal State Department emails showed. 

In March 2021, high-ranking State Department officials discussed a proposal to sponsor foreign journalists to "have experiences that educate them on reporting on climate change," according to the emails obtained by Protect the Public's Trust (PPT) and shared with Fox News Digital. In the email exchange, officials from Special Presidential Envoy for Climate (SPEC) John Kerry's office and the Office of Global Change (EGC) praised the program as a "fantastic" and "great" idea.

"Jean Foschetti at the FPC mentioned this to me about a week ago," a State Department official whose name was redacted wrote in an email on March 23, 2021. "Sounds like a great reporting tour idea; basically, the FPC will sponsor multiple foreign reporters to have experiences that educate them on reporting on climate change. Can EGC and SPEC take a look and clear?"

"Thanks for sharing … I think this sounds like a fantastic FPC (virtual) reporting tour and I'm looking forward to the stories that will come out of this," a second redacted official responded one day later.


State Department officials discuss i an email exchange obtained by watchdog group Protect the Public's Trust.

State Department officials discuss the "foreign reporting tour" in an email exchange obtained by watchdog group Protect the Public's Trust. (Protect the Public's Trust)

The FPC reporting tour — titled "Combating the Climate Crisis Through U.S. Innovation" — ultimately took place during a two-week stretch in May 2021. The event was designed to "promote the Administration’s goal of prioritizing the fight against climate change through global efforts to reduce emissions," according to the State Department.

"The FPC … offered this virtual program to enable journalists to remotely develop their reporting about the United States’ renewed approach to addressing the climate crisis and its innovation and research, particularly in the areas of reducing emissions and renewable energy," the State Department states on its website. 


While the State Department quietly announced the program in 2021, though, it failed to mention that it would be funded by U.S. taxpayer money or that the foreign reporters would be "sponsored." It is unclear which reporters and outlets were sponsored by the State Department program.

The tour came as the Biden administration was moving forward with its aggressive green energy and climate push.

"The American public may be shocked but, unfortunately, not surprised to learn their taxpayer funds are being used to promote climate alarmism around the world," Michael Chamberlain, director of the PPT, told Fox News Digital. "The State Department should come clean about which foreign publications, articles, and authors they are forcing American taxpayers to fund."

"However, one thing Protect the Public’s Trust has learned from this FOIA request is that transparency is not one of State’s strengths," Chamberlain said. "The more that is revealed the more it becomes clear why the American public’s trust in its government continues its rapid collapse."

John Kerry

President Biden appointed John Kerry to be the special presidential envoy for climate, a position which previously did not exist in 2021. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

The State Department, though, pushed back, saying that the FPC covered the cost of program expenses, but didn't pay reporters or specific stories to be commissioned. 

"For decades, Foreign Press Center reporting tours have supported fact-based reporting on U.S. foreign policy topics by providing international journalists direct access to authoritative information sources," a State Department spokesperson told Fox News Digital. "The FPC conducted virtual tours during the COVID-19 pandemic. In-person programming resumed in June 2022." 

"For this virtual program, the FPC covered the cost of operating the platform that supported press briefings and the production costs for footage and interviews that the journalists would otherwise be unable to obtain on their own due to the virtual format," they continued. "FPC reporting tours do not pay reporters, they do not pay for stories to be commissioned, and they do not fund the media organizations that participate in them."

"The FPCs have no editorial input into any media product resulting from a reporting tour."


The FPC, which is an agency within the Bureau of Global Public Affairs, was founded in the 1940s to "deepen global understanding of U.S. policy, society, culture, and values through engagement with foreign media." The climate reporting tour was the agency's second-ever virtual event of its kind.

Meanwhile, since President Biden took office, the State Department has boosted its diplomatic efforts related to climate change. Among Biden's first actions in January 2021 was to appoint Kerry to be the SPEC, a State Department role that gives Kerry a seat on the president's Cabinet and National Security Council, but didn't require a Senate confirmation process.

Since then, Kerry has traveled across the world, attending high-profile climate summits and diplomatic engagements in an effort to push a global transition from fossil fuels to green energy alternatives. His office is largely comprised of officials who formerly worked in large environmental organizations and has an estimated $13.9 million annual budget.