Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Elon Musk on Tillerson and Tunnels

Popular

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."

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Pie Ranch in San Mateo, California, is a highly diverse farm that has both organic and food justice certification. Katie Greaney

By Elizabeth Henderson

Farmworkers, farmers and their organizations around the country have been singing the same tune for years on the urgent need for immigration reform. That harmony turns to discord as soon as you get down to details on how to get it done, what to include and what compromises you are willing to make. Case in point: the Farm Workforce Modernization Act (H.R. 5038), which passed in the House of Representatives on Dec. 11, 2019, by a vote of 260-165. The Senate received the bill the next day and referred it to the Committee on the Judiciary, where it remains. Two hundred and fifty agriculture and labor groups signed on to the United Farm Workers' (UFW) call for support for H.R. 5038. UFW President Arturo Rodriguez rejoiced:

Read More Show Less
A woman walks to her train in Grand Central Terminal as New York City attempts to slow down the spread of coronavirus through social distancing on March 27. John Lamparski / Getty Images

By Julia Conley

A council representing more than 800,000 doctors across the U.S. signed a letter Friday imploring President Donald Trump to reverse his call for businesses to reopen by April 12, warning that the president's flouting of the guidance of public health experts could jeopardize the health of millions of Americans and throw hospitals into even more chaos as they fight the coronavirus pandemic.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
polaristest / Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

By Melissa Kravitz Hoeffner

Over six gallons of water are required to produce one gallon of wine. "Irrigation, sprays, and frost protection all [used in winemaking] require a lot of water," explained winemaker and sommelier Keith Wallace, who's also a professor and the founder of the Wine School of Philadelphia, the largest independent wine school in the U.S. And water waste is just the start of the climate-ruining inefficiencies commonplace in the wine industry. Sustainably speaking, climate change could be problematic for your favorite glass of wine.

Read More Show Less
Pixabay

By Rachael Link, MS, RD

Spinach is a true nutritional powerhouse, as it's rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Read More Show Less
Pexels

By Jeff Turrentine

From day to day, our public health infrastructure — the people and systems we've put in place to keep populations, as opposed to individuals, healthy — largely goes unnoticed. That's because when it's working well, its success takes the form of utter normalcy.

Read More Show Less