Monday, May 09, 2016

Elon Musk:  'We Need a Revolt Against the Fossil Fuel Industry'

‘We need to fight the propaganda of the fossil fuel industry,’ says Elon Musk. (Photograph Credit: Patrick T Fallon/Reuters) Click to Enlarge.
Tesla’s chief executive Elon Musk has accused politicians of bowing to the “unrelenting and enormous” lobbying power of the fossil fuel industry, warning that a global “revolt” may be needed to accelerate the transition to more sustainable energy and transport systems.

Speaking at the World Energy Innovation Forum at the Tesla Factory in California on Wednesday, Musk claimed that traditional vehicles and energy sources will continue to hold a competitive edge against greener alternatives due to the vast amounts of subsidies they receive.

The solution to this energy dilemma, Musk says, is to introduce a price on carbon by defining a tax rate on greenhouse gas emissions or the carbon content of fossil fuels.

“The fundamental issue with fossil fuels is that every use comes with a subsidy,” Musk said. “Every gasoline car on the road has a subsidy, and the right way to address that is with a carbon tax.”

“Politicians take the easy path of providing subsidies to electric vehicles, which aren’t equal to the applied subsidies of gasoline vehicles.  It weakens the economic forcing function to transition to sustainable transport and energy.”

While reiterating these calls for a robust carbon tax, Musk acknowledged that introducing the concept would be “hugely and politically difficult - especially when you have enormous lobbying power on behalf of the fossil fuel industry”.  The business magnate therefore believes that educating the public on climate issues will be essential in reeling back the fossil fuel industry’s influence over big political decisions – which has already led to European climate policies being dropped over fears of a mass exodus.

“It is quite worrying, the future of the world,” he added.  “We need to appeal to the people and educate them to sort of revolt against this and to fight the propaganda of the fossil fuel industry which is unrelenting and enormous.”

Despite Musk’s concerns, public demand for electric vehicles (EVs) is gathering pace and beginning to disrupt the automotive industry’s biggest players.  Last month, for example, pre-orders for Tesla’s lower-priced Model 3 reached more than 276,000 within the first 24 hours of the car’s unveiling.

Read more at Elon Musk: 'We Need a Revolt Against the Fossil Fuel Industry'

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