Tesla CEO Elon Musk said in a recent interview that he felt bad for hating on oil and gas and implied that most older workers in the field didn’t realize the extent of the climate crisis when they started out.
“For a lot of the people in the oil and gas industry, especially if they’re on the older side, they kind of built their companies and did their work before it was clear that this was a serious issue,” he added.
“And now they feel probably kind of hard done by that, like, people are making them out to be villains when they’re for the longest time just working hard to support the economy and didn’t really know that it was going to be all that bad.”
Elon Musk likened climate-change denial to the debate about cigarettes, when major tobacco firms tried to argue that the science about smoking’s harm was unclear. “It’s like, nope, the science is definitely not unclear!” he said.
It’s a surprising reversal for Musk — not the least because he’s previously vowed to destroy the entire industry.
To be clear, Musk still believes that the world must stop using fossil fuels sooner rather than later. But now he’s taking pity on oil barons, suggesting that they didn’t realize the harm they were doing.
Musk’s logic may be dicey. After all, any oil barons who didn’t know the catastrophic impacts of burning fossil fuels would have been active decades ago, and likely retired or deceased by now.
Reference- Business Insider, The New York Times, LA Times, Futurism, Scientific America