Tesla’s CEO has been sounding the alarm on the importance of the Russian war in Ukraine for the world.
Elon Musk doesn’t always agree with the prevailing wisdom.
When Tesla’s CEO (TSLA) – Get Tesla Inc. Report distanced himself from the general opinion in June about the heat waves that were devastating the northern hemisphere, some of his detractors saw it as further proof that he was out of touch.
Even some of his fans were perplexed because the billionaire is a key fighter against climate change through Tesla and SolarCity (the latter now merged into the electric-vehicle producer).
Climate activists asked: How can Musk say that climate change isn’t the world’s key priority when parts of Europe were ravaged by fires, the consequence of heat waves?
‘We Need to Use Oil and Gas’
For the serial entrepreneur, the world’s richest man, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine should be the priority of the West. That’s because it also has important consequences for the energy independence of Europe, to which Moscow is one of the major gas suppliers.
To reduce dependence on Russian gas supplies, the tech mogul has just commented in favor of the oil and gas industry, which should annoy environmental activists even more. Invited to an energy conference in Stavanger, Norway, the billionaire said the world needs more fossil-fuel energy.
“I think realistically we do need to use oil and gas in the short term because otherwise civilization would crumble,” Musk told reporters.
Asked whether Norway, a major oil-producing country, should continue to drill oil and gas, he was very clear: “I think some additional exploration is warranted at this time.”
The largest producer of oil and natural gas in Western Europe, the Scandinavian country is now very much in demand by other European countries, which are in the grip of an energy crisis and eager to break their dependence on Russian gas.
The Tesla CEO also encourages European countries not to close their nuclear power plants. He says that it is also about their national security.
“Countries should be increasing nuclear power generation!,” the billionaire suggested on Twitter on August 26. “It is insane from a national security standpoint & bad for the environment to shut them down.
While the debate on the resurgence of the atom rages, Musk applauds the willingness of certain countries, such as the U.S. and France, to extend the licenses of some of their nuclear power plants beyond their expiration dates.
Belgium plans to extend until 2036 the authorization granted to two nuclear power plants. These were to stop operating after 2025. Germany is now rethinking the need to close all its nuclear plants by year’s end. In Japan, the government just called for the reopening of nuclear power plants to reduce gas prices.
“Wise actions,” the billionaire said with a link to a story from The Wall Street Journal about the issue.
On Aug. 29, when Musk was asked about the greatest challenges facing the world, he cited the transition to renewable energy.
“One of the biggest challenges the world has ever faced is the transition to sustainable energy and to a sustainable economy,” Musk said. “That will take some decades to complete.”
He added that offshore wind-power generation in the North Sea, combined with stationary battery packs, could become a key source of energy: “It could provide a strong, sustainable energy source in winter.”
And Musk continued to voice his concerns about the reduction of the world population. He called the birth rate “one of my favourite… things to be concerned about.”
“We don’t want the population to drop so low that we’ll just eventually die,” Musk, the 51-year-old father of nine, said. “At least make enough babies to sustain the population.”
“They say civilization might die with a bang or with a whimper,” added Musk. “If we don’t have enough kids, then we will die with a whimper in adult diapers. And that will be depressing.”