Quantcast
Popular

Elon Musk on Tillerson and Tunnels

Elon Musk's tweets are causing quite a stir this week. The frequent tweeter surprisingly endorsed President Donald Trump's nomination for Secretary of State and provided some hints about his mysterious tunnel project.

First, the sustainable energy advocate raised a lot of eyebrows on Tuesday after tweeting his support of former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as the nation's top diplomat.

"This may sound surprising coming from me," Musk tweeted on Jan. 24, "but … Rex Tillerson has the potential to be an excellent Sec of State."

Many environmentalists were confused by the Tesla and SpaceX CEO's praise for the former oil exec, who spent his entire career working for a company that creates emissions and funded climate denial.

"You are a hero to so many climate activists Elon," Climatologist Michael Mann tweeted to Musk. "Please don't lend your imprimatur to an ExxonMobil-driven foreign policy."

Musk responded, "I'm just saying that we should see what happens first. The actions may be surprising."

In a series of direct messages with Gizmodo, Musk elaborated on his Tillerson endorsement:

Tillerson obviously did a competent job running Exxon, one of the largest companies in the world. In that role, he was obligated to advance the cause of Exxon and did. In the Sec of State role, he is obligated to advance the cause of the US and I suspect he probably will. Also, he has publicly acknowledged for years that a carbon tax could make sense. There is no better person to push for that to become a reality than Tillerson. This is what matters far more than pipelines or opening oil reserves. The unpriced externality must be priced.

Musk has long been in favor of a carbon tax as a means of "pricing the damage done by carbon pollution." He told Gizmodo, "We should have higher taxes on the things that science says are probably bad for us than those that are probably good for us."

In a similar vein, Tillerson said back in 2009 that a carbon tax is "the most efficient means of reflecting the cost of carbon in all economic decisions—from investments made by companies to fuel their requirements to the product choices made by consumers." (Some, however, suspect that the oil man's pro-carbon-tax stance amounts to a "PR ploy.")

Basically, Musk is saying that Tillerson, who has also acknowledged the risks of climate change, should be given the benefit of the doubt. Even if the president thinks climate change is a "hoax" and is eagerly pursuing dirty energy projects such as the Keystone XL and the Dakota Access Pipeline, at least Tillerson has Trump's ear.

As Musk told Gizmodo:

The more voices of reason that the President hears, the better. Simply attacking him will achieve nothing. Are you aware of a single case where Trump bowed to protests or media attacks? Better that there are open channels of communication.

With Tillerson's confirmation all but assured, let's hope that Musk is right.

As for the much-hyped tunnel project, Musk tweeted on Wednesday, "Exciting progress on the tunnel front. Plan to start digging in a month or so."

The tech entrepreneur plans to dig a tunnel under Los Angeles to ease through the city's notorious traffic.

Musk's first announced his tunnel ambitions in December while sitting through L.A. congestion.

"It shall be called 'The Boring Company,'" he tweeted. "Borings, it's what we do."

"Without tunnels, we will all be in traffic hell forever," Musk told The Verge via Twitter. "I really do think tunnels are the key to solving urban gridlock. Being stuck in traffic is soul-destroying. Self-driving cars will actually make it worse by making vehicle travel more affordable."

Show Comments ()

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Sponsored
Food
Vegetables in Whole Foods Market. Masahiro Ihara / CC BY 2.0

Food's Environmental Impact Varies Greatly Between Producers

By Jason Daley

There's no way around it—everything in the grocery store, from nuts and kale to beef and apples, has an environmental impact. Fertilizer causes water pollution, farm fields can encroach on habitat, and a lot of carbon gets released when food is transported from one place to another. But it turns out not every stalk of broccoli or pound of Gouda has the same ecological footprint. A new study of food systems in the journal Science shows the same items sitting next to each other on the shelf can have radically different impacts.

Keep reading... Show less
Politics
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas. Gage Skidmore / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

GOP Senators Demand Probe of Federal Grants on Climate Change

A group of Republican senators are calling for an investigation of the National Science Foundation (NSF) over a program that "[turns] television meteorologists into climate change evangelists," according to a Wednesday press release from the office of Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas).

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
pxhere

World's Plastic Waste Problem Now Predicted to Reach 111 Million Metric Tonnes by 2030

Mountains of plastic waste are building up around the globe after China implemented a ban on other countries' trash.

By 2030, an estimated 111 million metric tons of single-use drink bottles, food containers and other plastic junk will be displaced because of China's new policy, according to a new paper from University of Georgia researchers, who cited UN global trade data for their study.

Keep reading... Show less
Politics
Children detained at a facility in McAllen, Texas under Trump's "zero tolerance" immigration policy. U.S. Customs and Border Control

Trump Penalizes Migrants Fleeing Climate Crisis He Ignores

The impacts of climate change do not respect international borders. If they did, it wouldn't be the case that the countries who have done the least to contribute to global carbon dioxide emissions are expected to suffer disproportionately from their effects.

But as climate refugees begin to flee deteriorating conditions, they are already finding that borders very much apply to them.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Popular
Indigenous inhabitants of one of the floating islands in Lake Titicaca greet a tour group from Puno, Peru. David Stanley / CC BY 2.0

5 Ways Indigenous Groups Are Fighting Back Against Land Seizures

By Peter Veit

Much of the world's land is occupied and used by Indigenous Peoples and communities—about 50 percent of it, involving more than 2.5 billion people. But these groups are increasingly losing their ancestral lands—their primary source of livelihood, income and social identity.

Keep reading... Show less
Animals

Koko the Gorilla Dead at 46, an 'Icon for Interspecies Communication and Empathy'

Koko, the beloved western lowland gorilla who could communicate with sign language, died at age 46, the Gorilla Foundation announced. She died in her sleep on Tuesday morning in Woodside, California.

"Koko touched the lives of millions as an ambassador for all gorillas and an icon for interspecies communication and empathy. She was beloved and will be deeply missed," the foundation said in a press release.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Climate
West Palm Beach broadcast meteorologist Jeff Berardelli with the graphic used in Thursday's #MetsUnite campaign. Jeff Berardelli

#MetsUnite to Spread Climate Change Awareness as Heat Wave Season Begins

If you tune in to a TV weather report on today's Northern hemisphere summer solstice, you might notice the meteorologist wearing a unique striped tie or necklace that begins in blue and changes to red.

This isn't just a fun summer style. The design is actually University of Reading climate scientist Ed Hawkin's "Warming Stripes" visualization, which represents the change in annual global temperatures from 1850 to 2017. Nearly 100 TV meteorologists are displaying it in some way on Thursday as part of Meteorologists United on Climate Change or #MetsUnite, Weather Underground reported.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular
Pexels

'Public Relations Nightmare' Toxic Chemical Report Finally Released by CDC

A report with frightening consequences for American drinking water that the Trump administration tried to suppress was finally released by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Wednesday, ProPublica reported.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!