Musk: Without oil and gas, ‘civilization will collapse’

Tesla CEO Elon Musk was speaking at an energy conference in Stavanger, Norway on Aug. 29 repeated a claim he made earlier this year: “I think we have to use oil and gas in the short run or civilization will collapse.”

In the midst of an energy crisis in Europe – the some expect will get much worse in the winter – high gas prices and a grid that is becoming more unstable in the US from reliance on so-called sustainable energy, Musk claimed that “we actually need more oil and gas, not less.”

While he pointed out that “we have a clear path to a sustainable energy future,” it’s not a path that can be taken quickly. Musk said the transition “will take a few decades to complete.”

This transition is by no means simple or easy. The Tesla CEO noted that this is one of “the greatest challenges the world has ever faced.”

Musk’s theme of the collapse of civilization in response to a premature phase-out of fossil fuels is being embraced by academics and policy analysts Vaclav Smils recently published book “How the World Really Works.” Although Smil discusses the impact more broadly, he focuses on the link between our food supply and fossil fuels: “Our food supply – be it staple grains, cackling birds, favorite vegetables or seafood praised for their nutritious quality – has become increasingly dependent on fossil fuels .”

Like Musk, Smil anticipates a transition but doesn’t think it can be rushed. “Even if we try to transform the global food system as quickly as we can realistically imagine, we will continue to subsist on converted fossil fuels, whether as bread or fish, for decades to come.”

He is certain that the coming transition “will not be a sudden abandonment of fossil carbon (it cannot be), nor even its rapid disappearance – but rather its gradual decline.”

Keeping oil and gas at current or higher levels in the meantime, Musk suggests, could not only feed people, but also serve to stem or mitigate the massive surge in energy costs.

European politicians have put aside to cushion $278 billion the impact of the energy crisis on businesses and consumers – for whom skyrocketing energy costs have proved insurmountable in some cases. This is just one of many price tags and setbacks that have emerged as a result of a recent excessive dependency on enemy power supplyan inability to pan fully due to spirited Alternatives and, more generally, early transition.

According to Musk, self-sufficiency in oil and gas is important, even for a country like Norway, which obtains the majority of its electricity from hydroelectric power and renewable energies.

Musk suggested that Norway, prosperous and green through oil and gas production, to continue drilling for fossil fuels, specify“I think some additional exploration is warranted at this point.”

Musk also praised nuclear energy as a form of electricity generation worthy of conservation: “If you have a well-designed nuclear power plant, you shouldn’t shut it down – especially not now.”

He tweeted on August 26: “Countries should increase nuclear power generation! It’s insane from a national security standpoint and bad for the environment to turn them off.”

Musk added that some critics of nuclear power are “unfortunately misanthropic.” Musk: Without oil and gas, ‘civilization will collapse’

Laura Coffey

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