Elon Musk endorses a carbon tax, downplays concerns about methane

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  • At a Tesla shareholders meeting on Thursday, CEO Elon Musk said the three paths to sustainability are solar and wind power, batteries for energy storage and electric vehicles of all kinds.
  • He also supported a tax on carbon dioxide emissions. “So how about a carbon tax? We really need this.”
  • Musk also provided some updates on the ongoing company’s factory in Austin, Texas.

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Tesla CEO Elon Musk once again backed the idea of ​​a federal carbon tax at the company’s 2021 annual shareholder meeting on Thursday.

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He said the three parts of a “sustainable future”, in his view, are solar and wind power, batteries for energy storage, and electric vehicles of all kinds, including cars, boats, and airplanes.

“As we move towards a sustainable energy grid and electric vehicles, obviously we move towards a completely sustainable energy economy, where we want to reach as quickly as possible. The sooner the better! What else? Could there be a carbon tax? I mean, what’s the matter,” Musk said impatiently on Thursday.

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Carbon taxes, or taxes on greenhouse gas emissions, have long been proposed as a way to reduce emissions of gases that cause climate change, particularly carbon dioxide. Some advocates believe the carbon tax should be increased over time to give industry time to explore and roll out lower-carbon alternatives to the products and processes they use that emit CO2. .

More than 40 governments have adopted some form of pricing on carbon new York Times, but the United States has not.

A carbon tax would help Tesla by making gas more expensive, which would make its electric vehicles more attractive, and by increasing energy prices, which would encourage homeowners to adopt solar panels from Tesla and other providers. Can do. Musk acknowledged as much, but noted that it would hurt his reusable rocket business, SpaceX, a major consumer of fossil fuels, which plans to drill for natural gas and use methane. Used to be. Rocket Operations in Boca Chica.

“So how about a carbon tax? We really need this,” he said.

Musk also strongly supported the idea of ​​getting more material out of spent batteries through improved recycling techniques and processes.

“The battery material is certainly recyclable. There is no burning gas. CO2 is an extremely stable molecule. The atmosphere of Mars has been mainly CO2 because I don’t know for billions of years. It’s extremely stable. So, sometimes- Sometimes people worry about methane. Don’t worry too much about methane. Methane quickly breaks down into CO2. Methane is not a stable molecule. CO2 is extremely stable,” Musk urged his audience, As if trying to justify SpaceX’s use of methane.

According to Environmental Protection Agency, “Methane is 25 times more powerful than carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the atmosphere.” Methane is the second most abundant greenhouse gas emitted through human activity and industry, second only to carbon dioxide. It accounts for about 20% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Austin Update

At the annual shareholder meeting, Musk also talked about Tesla’s goal of where customers order them. Doing so could save the company shipping costs, but also reduce its environmental footprint from shipping, Musk suggested.

“The amount of money we’re spending on flying parts around the world isn’t great,” Musk said. “It makes sense to produce on the continent where the consumers are.”

Currently, Tesla has a new factory operating near Austin, Texas, which is expected to produce the battery on site, and another outside Berlin, Germany.

On Thursday, Tesla also confirmed that it has moved its headquarters to Austin.

Musk hopes the Texas factory, called Giga-Austin, will follow in the footsteps of Tesla’s Shanghai factory, which now produces more electric cars than his original factory in Fremont, Calif.

At the year-end annual shareholder meeting, Musk announced that the battery and manufacturing progress Tesla is working on could soon lead to less-priced cars from the company. “About 3 years from now, we are confident that we can create a very attractive $25,000 electric vehicle that is also fully autonomous,” he said then. Tesla also said last year that it designed and produced its own 4680 battery cells at a facility in Fremont, Calif.

Musk did not provide any updates on the timing of the $25,000 electric vehicle on Thursday.

But he did say that Tesla will not produce 4680 battery cells in Texas this year. Instead, it will produce these cells at its pilot facility in Fremont, and ship them there as the Model Y production ramps up in Texas.

Long-term Musk said he believes the crossover utility vehicle is likely to become Tesla’s best-seller, surpassing the Model 3 sedans in popularity.

Earlier this month, Tesla said it delivered 241,300 electric vehicles during the third quarter of 2021, and produced 237,823 cars in the same period.

Delivery is the closest approximation to sales reported by Tesla. The company hit a new record as deliveries from other automakers declined compared to the same period last year, mainly due to supply chain issues including global chip shortages.

Musk does not see global supply chain issues being fully resolved until 2023, he said on Thursday.

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