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Power Politics

Elon Musk: 'We Need a Revolt Against the Fossil Fuel Industry' (theguardian.com) 530

An anonymous reader writes: Tesla's chief executive Elon Musk has accused politicians of bowing to the "unrelenting and enormous" lobbying power of the fossil fuel industry, warning that a global "revolt" may be needed to accelerate the transition to more sustainable energy and transport systems. Speaking at the World Energy Innovation Forum at the Tesla Factory in California, Musk claimed that traditional vehicles and energy sources will continue to hold a competitive edge against greener alternatives due to the vast amounts of subsidies they receive. The solution to this energy dilemma, Musk says, is to introduce a price on carbon by defining a tax rate on greenhouse gas emissions or the carbon content of fossil fuels. "The fundamental issue with fossil fuels is that every use comes with a subsidy," Musk said. "Every gasoline car on the road has a subsidy, and the right way to address that is with a carbon tax. Politicians take the easy path of providing subsidies to electric vehicles, which aren't equal to the applied subsidies of gasoline vehicles. It weakens the economic forcing function to transition to sustainable transport and energy."
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Elon Musk: 'We Need a Revolt Against the Fossil Fuel Industry'

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  • What about (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dnaumov ( 453672 )

    all the massive subsidies that solar/wind get? How about we remove subsidies from ALL and then wait and see what and who can stand on their own?

    • Re:What about (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Punko ( 784684 ) on Friday May 06, 2016 @09:49AM (#52060511)
      Just as long as taxes are levied against all energy producers that are based on the environmental cost of generating the power (including construction, fabrication impacts), I'm with you.
      • Re:What about (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Lodragandraoidh ( 639696 ) on Friday May 06, 2016 @10:21AM (#52060775) Journal

        Yes - lets squabble about this little blue marble, when there are quadrillions of tons of rare earths to be found in the asteroid belt.

        Let's get off our collective butts, slap ourselves out of our collective malaise, and get the space elevator/ private sector affordable space launch vehicles/ Mars mission technology working NOW - so we can solve these problems without further destroying the earth.

        • by gtall ( 79522 )

          Getting stuff into space isn't the hard problem. The hard problem is the months it takes to get to the asteroid belt, find the ones with stuff we want, and then push those lumps back here or mine it there and ship it back here.

          Now, how about you do some serious thinking and calculate the energy it would take to do the job. Also calculate the missing techno whizzies we'll need to do the job (hint, there's not a lot of gravity up there to rely upon). Regarding the energy, it isn't enough to get something whiz

          • I would suggest parking any asteroids to be mined in the Earth-Moon L1 or L2, that way they don't get in the way, and are rather easy to reach. Also, it allows factories to sit in the gravitational equilibrium spots. Even shipping the finished products around the solar system is damn easy from there.

            As far as moving the rocks, just design an automated ion "tug" that can anchor to an asteroid, kill its spin, and push it here slowly using the ITN:
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

            As far as gravity, just spin

      • based on the environmental cost of generating the power

        Computed by who?

        Talking about "cost" only makes sense, when there is a free market with competing suppliers using different technologies...

        "Environmental cost" is notoriously incalculable — as both "Greenpeace" and the oil companies will attest from their respective sides of this barricade.

        • by Punko ( 784684 )
          For the sake of argument, if we assume that national governments are neutral in this, then they can place a proper value on that environmental cost. The downside of this, of course, is that means that the cost value will be set by politicians.

          Even if the cost assigned is incorrect (too high or too low) at least it starts the conversation. Some energy generators do not like the benefits/subsidies given to other classes of power generation and some energy generators can point to their type as having a lowe
          • by mi ( 197448 )
            Well, somehow I suspected, you'll see government as the solution...

            if we assume that national governments are neutral in this, then they can place a proper value on that environmental cost

            Wow, talk about begging the question. Are they neutral? Or will they happily (ab)use this power you propose we give them to reward supporters and punish opponents?

            And even if they are free of any agenda [washingtontimes.com] — just how can they (or anyone) calculate these costs? The people, who can't keep almost any project within budget

    • Re:What about (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Friday May 06, 2016 @09:51AM (#52060529)

      Those who can stand on their own would be the ones with the most money in the bank.
      So it would be the older established companies, vs. the newer companies who are spending a lot of money in R&D.

      The subsidies allow such companies to be competitive with the big names who have money to sell at a loss until their competition is dead.

      If you think subsidies are unfair, realize the big companies have the ability to change the rules.

    • How about we remove subsidies from ALL and then wait and see what and who can stand on their own?

      Yes. That's what he's suggesting. Get rid of subsidies and implement a carbon tax. Let the market rather than the politicians decide which alternatives to support and which will fail. If you make the carbon tax revenue neutral then you can reduce income and sales tax - two things we ought to be encouraging rather than taxing.

      • Carbon tax hurts _you_, the consumer, not companies who are passing their costs to you. It also tends to harm the poorer areas who have less income. People in the Ozarks who rely on coal plants don't have the extra income to tax and pay for replacement power plants.

        Shaping society with a hammer does not work, it has never worked. Carbon tax is a huge hammer. The working alternative is public funding through merit based incremental updates. That method is how we achieved national coverage for railroads,

        • by bondsbw ( 888959 ) on Friday May 06, 2016 @10:25AM (#52060813)

          Carbon tax hurts _you_, the consumer, not companies who are passing their costs to you

          It's not intended to hurt the companies. It's intended to alter the market by making a particular product more expensive, and thus less enticing. Other products can then compete better on price and thus become more enticing.

          A subsidy or tax break can have a similar type of effect but in the opposite direction.

          • by Layzej ( 1976930 ) on Friday May 06, 2016 @10:38AM (#52060921)
            Right. Plus, if it's a revenue neutral tax like they've implemented in British Columbia then other taxes are reduced and no net income is generated for the state.
          • by kuzb ( 724081 )

            Two people sell items that solve the same problem, both are $1. The government steps in and decides one needs to be taxed a dollar while the other does not. Now you have two items, one at $1 and one at $2. The $1 item is now free to raise its price either slightly below or at the $2 item as it's competition is no longer limiting it.

            So now you have one product at $1.95 and one at $2. This is the problem with carbon tax - if you raise the cost of gas you give competing technologies such as solar or wind t

            • The $1 item is now free to raise its price either slightly below or at the $2 item as it's competition is no longer limiting it.

              No, it doesn't work that way. A solar panel company doesn't just compete with fossil fuel companies. It also competes with other solar panel companies, wind companies, and even companies selling conservation via LED light bulbs and better insulation. A single company cannot just arbitrarily raise prices without losing market share to competitors producing similar products.

          • A subsidy or tax break can have a similar type of effect but in the opposite direction.

            The problem with subsidies and tax breaks is that they require the government to "pick winners". If you subsidize solar panels, you will get more solar panels. But if you instead tax fossil fuel, you leave it up to the market to find the most cost effective alternative, which may not be solar panels. It may be wind, or LED light bulbs, or better attic insulation.

            Another problem with subsidies is that, once in place, they are politically difficult to remove. During WW2, we subsidized mohair [wikipedia.org] to use in fli

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          ...merit based incremental updates. That method is how we achieved national coverage for railroads...

          Oh, man! That's so funny [wikipedia.org]!

          Carbon tax is just a fee for garbage collection. It is a perfectly valid way to pay for the necessary clean up. But since the voters elect tycoons and won't oversee their government, it will just turn into another scandal. One way or another, passively or actively, together we set policy.

        • But it does ultimately hurt those companies because it makes competing energy sources more viable. If fossil fuels are priced higher, it makes alternatives relatively cheaper and more competitive, and at some point, when everyone starts using, say, electric or hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, the oil companies are going to feel the pain.

          Which is why even oil companies are preparing for a post-oil world. Everyone is. The Saudis are creating the largest sovereign wealth fund in history precisely because they know

          • Which is why even oil companies are preparing for a post-oil world. Everyone is. The Saudis are creating the largest sovereign wealth fund in history precisely because they know the game is up, and oil has only decades left.

            It was a Saudi minister of oil and mineral resources who said "The Stone Age came to an end not for a lack of stones and the oil age will end, but not for a lack of oil."

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      The "massive" subsidies for solar/wind turn out to be small compared to the subsidies and tax breaks for fossil fuel industry. The fossil fuel industry subsidies are simply invisible because they've been in place so long.
      http://www.ibtimes.com/us-foss... [ibtimes.com]

      • Re:What about (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Salgak1 ( 20136 ) <salgakNO@SPAMspeakeasy.net> on Friday May 06, 2016 @10:09AM (#52060655) Homepage

        By "subsidies", you apparently mean normal business expense deductions that ALL businesses get.

        I propose a simple metric: cost per megawatt-hour delivered to the grid, with no non-standard deductions and no outright subsidies.

        Until we get a picture free of EVERYONE'S politics, and have some purely objective data to work with, we're talking apples and oranges here. . .

        • Re:What about (Score:4, Insightful)

          by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Friday May 06, 2016 @10:44AM (#52060973) Journal

          By subsidies, many of us mean that everyone else gets to pay for the damage done by the use of fossil fuels, while the companies reap profits.

        • Re:What about (Score:4, Informative)

          by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Friday May 06, 2016 @10:59AM (#52061087)
          I agree with Musk that we need to move away from fossil fuels, but gasoline vehicles have a net tax, not a subsidy. Going through the first page of Google hits, the biggest figure for oil industry subsidies in the U.S. I can find is $37.5 billion/yr [priceofoil.org]. (Note that the dollar amount of a tax exemption or a deduction is not equal to the subsidy dollar amount.)

          The U.S. uses about 140 billion gallons of gasoline each year [eia.gov]. So even if you assumed the entirety of that subsidy were on gasoline (less than half of a barrel of oil [eia.gov] becomes gasoline), that works out to a subsidy of just 26.8 cents per gallon.

          The average fuel tax on gasoline in the U.S. is 48.7 cents/gallon [wikipedia.org]. So gasoline has a net tax on it - it is taxed more than the subsidy it receives.

          The difference is even starker in other OECD countries, where gasoline is taxed to the tune of several dollars a gallon. We are addicted to gasoline and fossil fuels because the easy access to energy acts as a multiplier for our productivity, allowing us to increase our standard of living relatively cheaply (in terms of financial cost). Even with the net tax, we are still addicted to it. So even if all the complaining about oil subsidies works and they're completely rescinded, it won't make a dent in our oil consumption. The price of gasoline has fluctuated more this year due to market forces, than the above calculated subsidy amount.
        • Re:What about (Score:5, Informative)

          by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <mojo@@@world3...net> on Friday May 06, 2016 @11:10AM (#52061225) Homepage Journal

          Problem with cost per megawatt is that it ignores all the externalised costs. Healthcare to deal with the effects of pollution is expensive and very long term. How do you value all the energy saved having to vacuum homes or replace filters less often?

        • Re:What about (Score:5, Informative)

          by Taxman415a ( 863020 ) on Friday May 06, 2016 @12:22PM (#52061961) Homepage Journal

          By "subsidies", you apparently mean normal business expense deductions that ALL businesses get.

          No. Do a quick internet search for "oil tax credit" and learn something new. If you're too lazy for that, try this article: http://www.investopedia.com/ar... [investopedia.com] If you're too lazy for that, understand that you're incorrect, and there are specific tax benefits that are given to oil investments.

      • From the article: “The U.S. is set apart from other G20 countries by the sheer variety of tax exemptions for fossil fuel producers”. So that's only a problem in the US. In my own country, there is little or no subsidy on fossil fuels, loads of subsidies on alternative energy sources, and unbelievable taxes on cars powered by fossil fuels. For certain models, the special car tax (which amounts to a carbon tax) exceeds the factory price, and then you still have to pay VAT. All-electric vehicle
    • Yup we should/could. Problem is we also need to accurately take into consideration externalities via taxes. Acid rain(coal/ng), Global warming(coal/ng), strip mining(solar/wind), flooding (hydro). Then and only then can a free market accurately declare a victor. Unless we do that, we are actually breaking one of the fundamental requirements for a competitive market.
    • Renewable energy gets less than half as much subsidy as petroleum, and it becomes less than 1/5th of what petroleum gets if you exclude subsidies for ethanol.

      I'd be happy if they simply made it equal.
      =Smidge=

    • I totally agree and I would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

    • Wow, why make americans so retarded comments?

      Who would set up a wind plant if it is not in a way profitable and can compete?
      Who would research building such a wind plant if not a government would give research grands?
      When would the planet be finally powered by green energy if we do nothing and wait for the invisible hand?

      How can you be so retarded?

    • Does "removing subsidies" also mean pricing energy sources for their environmental and climactic costs? If you're not pricing energy sources in that way, you're effectively subsidizing them, because somehow someone somewhere is going to have to pay to deal with issues like remediation, environmental damage and yes, whether the Koch meme repeaters like it or not, significant alterations in global climate.

    • His argument is that every engine or generator powered by fossil fuels has an inherent subsidy because they are not paying for all of the environmental damage they cause.

      If you look at the impacts of carcinogenic waste products, global warming, and acidic rain / ocean acidification, then you can see there are huge costs associated with fossil fuels that the producers and consumers of those products are not paying.

      He is arguing that fossil fuels have an unfair advantage in the energy market until we slap the

    • by Maxwell ( 13985 )
      Those are trivial compared to the subsidies the oil/gas industry gets. Everything from free land to drill on, free rights to drill, massive 'exploratory' tax credits making exploration risk free, government cleanup of oil spills, government permission to pollute, etc. And that has been going on for a century now.

      It will take a long, long time for solar wind subsidies to catch up to what oil/gas have already received!

  • by PeeAitchPee ( 712652 ) on Friday May 06, 2016 @09:49AM (#52060517)

    I generally like Musk, but this is bullshit. As someone said years before on Slashdot, "carbon credits" or any sort of carbon tax is nothing more than a scam by the ultra rich to make you and me live like bugs.

    Why not just end the fossil fuel subsidies? Why must the answer *always* be to further tax the consumers?

    • Why must the answer *always* be to further tax the consumers?

      I would be all about *changing* taxes from sales/income to consumption taxes. But it has to change not just add another tax. Taxing energy usage per person over a certain level would encourage conservation. I think it makes more sense to tax fuel, alcohol, electricity than it does to tax labor. This also has the advantage of being automatically progressive because the people with the bigger houses, private jets, etc... are the ones that would pay more taxes. These are the people who are actually consum

    • The plans to have a carbon tax intend to make it revenue neutral. So the carbon tax would be offset by reductions in income and sales taxes (or VAT in Europe) along with increases in various rebate programs for the lower-income groups.
    • Yeah, that was my reaction too. Why is everyone's answer to anything a new Tax? If the fossil fuel industry receives so many subsidy's how about slowly phasing those out and giving them manufacturers, the states and the general public to make electric cars cheaper and more affordable then gas powered cars? Give incentives to the states to put more recharging stations along the highways so you can drive an electric car almost anywhere and not be afraid that you won't be able to find a charging station.

      • by j-beda ( 85386 )

        Yeah, that was my reaction too. Why is everyone's answer to anything a new Tax? If the fossil fuel industry receives so many subsidy's how about slowly phasing those out and giving them manufacturers, the states and the general public to make electric cars cheaper and more affordable then gas powered cars? Give incentives to the states to put more recharging stations along the highways so you can drive an electric car almost anywhere and not be afraid that you won't be able to find a charging station.

        Imposing fees (via taxes, or cap-and-trade, or manditory insurance, or other methods) on things that are not currently well reflected in the cost to produce stuff or deliver services is generally a good idea. Fees for releasing greenhouse gasses, air pollution, mining, or whatever else, can make the producers and consumers pay for those externalities in a more transparent way without requiring others to shoulder the full costs.

        In theory, if you manage to properly reflect the true total cost of all these typ

    • As someone is saying right now on Slashdot: carbon taxes are the most market-friendly way of getting the right balance of power generation methods. The fossil fuel subsidies we're talking about are the amount of cost of fossil fuels the companies get to dump onto other people in general, and carbon taxes are precisely the right method to remove those subsidies.

      Carbon taxes can be implemented in a revenue-neutral way by reducing other taxes.

    • by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Friday May 06, 2016 @12:47PM (#52062139)

      As someone said years before on Slashdot, "carbon credits" or any sort of carbon tax is nothing more than a scam by the ultra rich to make you and me live like bugs.

      A carbon tax is not some big plot by rich people. It's a way to put an economic value on the cost of dealing with the pollution created by fossil fuels. It's no different in principle from forcing a manufacturer to pay for the cost of cleaning up a byproduct of their production process. Right now the fossil fuel industry is basically allowed to dump certain of their pollutants into the air without further financial consequence. The goal of incentivizing companies and individuals to pollute less is a good one in principle but difficult to pull off in practice.

      Carbon credits are a silly political compromise and so far are largely ineffective (for several reasons but mostly because they issue too many of them) but it isn't a scam either. Carbon credits aren't as effective as a straight tax but unlike a tax they are politically palatable even though the net effect is substantially the same. Call something a tax and people freak out but give them something that has the same effect but isn't a direct tax and they calm down because nobody is saying the magical bad word "tax'.

      Why not just end the fossil fuel subsidies?

      That would be a nice start but it still doesn't cover the cost of the pollution that fossil fuels generate. Right now we not only don't make the oil and gas companies pay for the full cost of their pollution but we actually pay them (subsidies) to generate it! That's bonkers.

    • by Ichijo ( 607641 ) on Friday May 06, 2016 @12:49PM (#52062151) Homepage Journal

      If you believe that polluters should pay for the damage they cause, and if you believe that CO2 emissions impose a nonzero cost on the environment, then ending the fossil fuel subsidies is just not sufficient reparation.

      And if the carbon tax were revenue-neutral as many advocate, then if the tax were $50 per ton of CO2 and the average person creates 20 tons per year, then everyone would receive back $1,000 no matter how much CO2 they created. The average person who makes no change to their lifestyle would be no better or worse off, the poor who use less energy would get a windfall, and the wealthy who do more flying and have bigger homes to heat and cool would pay more in taxes than they receive back. So a revenue-neutral carbon tax would transfer wealth from the rich to the poor, not the other way around.

  • While I agree with his position, the method is (IMHO) wrong. What Elon is requesting is that the government take away from fossil fuel subsidies by a post-facto tax on awarded monies. The inefficiencies of administrative churn will impose a longer time to balancing energy subsidies. A more straight forward solution would be to simply mandate that the sum of all non-renewable energy subsides on a per joule basis be strictly less than the aggregate renewable energy subsidies with a monotonically decreasing no

  • Coming up later - short hair is the in thing, claims barber.

  • "Every gasoline car on the road has a subsidy, and the right way to address that is with a carbon tax. Politicians take the easy path of providing subsidies to electric vehicles, which aren't equal to the applied subsidies of gasoline vehicles. It weakens the economic forcing function to transition to sustainable transport and energy."

    The "right way" is to eliminate all the subsidies, then only have taxes based on the known effect on the environment, based on current scientific understanding.
    Note that all k

  • Not self serving of Elon Musk or anything.

    I say great, let us start with the 1% who can afford an extra vehicle. An electric car won't take me where I want to go at present. This makes them a very expensive toy to me. Make them equal in utility to my current vehicle and I will be first in line.
  • For city areas, it is easily possible to build systems of small transporters similar to ski slope gondola pods holding 2 -6 people which travel above sidewalks and parking places on overhead rails with linear motors.

    "Pods + people" would use dramatically smaller amounts of power compared to cars or buses and they wouldn't require double decking or widening of roads. Pod rails could be supported by posts that also serve as street lights. With modern engineering including lightweight construction, sensors and

  • We've been investing in solar and wind (to a lesser extent nuclear) for quite a while and it has PAID OFF.

    Currently, wind and solar, in high useability areas, are cheaper than fossil fuels. That wasn't the case 50, or even 20 years ago.

    Right now, the main thing holding us back is a combination of storage costs and the variability of the energy source.

    Right now, the only thing holding back a purely electric car is the battery (storage) cost. And cellphone technology has caused us to invest in battery tech

  • What you need is a less corrupt government. You're not going to get there by creating a few hurdles. The rich are the smartest people in the country with the most to lose and to gain, they will aways find a way around your hurdles. It's naive. What you need is to reduce the power of your government.
  • by swb ( 14022 ) on Friday May 06, 2016 @10:17AM (#52060731)

    And by subsidies, I mean specific transfer payments to the oil/gas industry or specific tax credits offered to the oil/gas industry. Things that make direct contributions to the oil and gas industry bottom line and allow them to sell the product at a higher margin.

    I'm less interested in hearing about indirect costs of greenhouse gas emissions, etc. I believe these are real costs to society as a whole, so it's less clear whether the oil/gas industry should pay for these costs or whether they should be charged at the retail level to consumers of the product who actually do the emitting.

    • And by subsidies, I mean specific transfer payments to the oil/gas industry or specific tax credits offered to the oil/gas industry.

      The answer is "no". The "subsidies" that the looney left yell about all the time are standard tax breaks available to manufacturers in the US.

      • by Maxwell ( 13985 ) on Friday May 06, 2016 @11:48AM (#52061605) Homepage
        Hello, CPA here, totally wrong...How about the oil industry ONLY credits that only they get? (IDC, depletion, 2yr geological exploration, there's billions of these special exemptions). How about oil companies drilling in government land, and off shore, for free? Did Elon get the land for his battery factory for free? How about the 'rights' for oil granted to them for next to nothing? How about all the infrastucture gas stations for delivery etc that the oil companies need, but have zero responsibility for? Thank you cities for issuing permits for all those gas stations! Pipelines? Lets not even go there....

        These are all subsidies that have been around for a long, long time. I don't think anyone is saying they were a bad idea at the time - there is a public good aspect here - but if the same service (personal transportation) can be delivered differently, do we really need to keep subsidizing oil and gas?

        It should at least be discussed. I know having an adult conversation is hard for someone who uses phrases like "looney left" but try. Or , just be quiet and let the grown ups handle this one.

    • How about the trillion dollars plus we spent to invade Iraq, or the money we spend to keep Isreal and Saudi Arabia happy and Iran contained? If the business of oil was not in these areas we literally not care.

      Not all subsidies are about giving dollars to a specific individuals.

    • The primary subsidy is in the form of externalities. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org] Most businesses have to pay for waste disposal, but fossil fuel companies are allowed to create as much air pollution as they want and not have to pay the fair cost.
  • I'm waiting for the announcement of Trump-Musk 2016.

    We will definitely need more popcorn.

  • by avandesande ( 143899 ) on Friday May 06, 2016 @10:25AM (#52060805) Journal
    Every Tesla has a subsidy too- tax rebates from government + the entire electric infrastructure which is mostly based on fossil fuels. What's his point?
  • How convenient that he rails against the fossil fuel industry for getting subsidies. Isn't that exactly how he got Tesla (and Solar City for that matter) off the ground? And where does he think the electricity comes from to power his little hippy-mobiles? In the USA the majority of electricity is produced by burning coal. Yeah, the same fuel source that environmentalists are constantly telling us is too dirty and should outlawed. How about the batteries in all those cars that will some day be depleted? What

    • The Tesla Model 3 with a Fuel Cell Range Extender? If cars are pumping water into the atmosphere what do you think will happen? As for depleted batteries? The battery can be recycled, if Musk wants to; and I hope he does. Also, a note on subsidies, does the oil, and coal industries really need them? It flies in the face of common sense that any Billionaire needs a subsidy; for any reason.
    • The batteries are not dumped, they get recycled!
      Would be pretty stupid to dump a 250kWh battery where the raw material alone is worth thousand dollars.

  • by burtosis ( 1124179 ) on Friday May 06, 2016 @10:29AM (#52060841)
    His own electric cars get about 40mpg co2 wise where I live due to the coal powering the majority of electrical use. Is he asking to up the price people pay on his own products?
    • by Ed Tice ( 3732157 ) on Friday May 06, 2016 @11:21AM (#52061313)
      I think the answer is yes. You frame that as a bad thing and got modded up. I'm not sure why. Not everything that people advocate for has to be in their own self-interest. Of course in this case, pumping up the price of his product may be to his benefit. People love to talk about electric cars really being coal cars but if CO2 were priced accurately, electricity wouldn't be generated by coal and burning fossil fuels in a vehicle would be cost prohibitive.
    • by archer, the ( 887288 ) on Friday May 06, 2016 @01:06PM (#52062287)
      No, he's trying to make incentives to have people replace coal or natural gas power plants with solar, wind, and maybe even nuclear. People say switching to renewable is too expensive. One of the reasons for that is the fossil fuel industry's freedom to pollute. IF the cost of that pollution were included in the sale price of the electricity or gasoline, people would have more accurate data when making the decision of renewable vs. fossil fuel. As an example, if we switched entirely to renewables, we'd save $300-800 billion a year on reduced health costs:

      http://www.ucsusa.org/clean_en... [ucsusa.org]

      And that doesn't include property damage from harsher storms or rising sea levels.
  • by Trailer Trash ( 60756 ) on Friday May 06, 2016 @10:40AM (#52060931) Homepage

    I'm serious. I want to like Elon Musk, but seriously his entire business model is based on getting the government (at all levels) to help him. His cars are subsidized heavily by the government, meaning that poor people in California are helping to pay for rich people buying expensive cars. That's not right. Now he wants more governmental help to hurt his competition. He needs to simply do the right thing, and that means competing fair and square.

    And don't bother telling me about the massive "subsidies" available to the fossil fuel industry. Those subsidies are tax breaks for industry in the US that are available to Tesla, also, and I guarantee that they take advantage of it all.

    I don't even want to go into the fact that his cars are, for the most part, coal powered.

  • by Maxo-Texas ( 864189 ) on Friday May 06, 2016 @10:56AM (#52061075)

    Everyone knows the reason for Gulfwar I and Gulfwar II was oil. We ignore every other tiny nation on earth that's doing horrific things to their citizens but we got involved in Iraq because oil.

    And that cost trillions of dollars and thousands of lives.

    And that doesn't even begin to cover the ongoing trillions of dollars for ships and bases in places we wouldn't care about if not for oil.

    Oil's subsidies are so deeply embedded into the u.s. military that we think of them as national security interests instead of as the subsidies they are.

    We wouldn't even need them if we invested in solar, batteries, wind and a fleet of electric vehicles.

    If 10% of the U.S. fleet were electric vehicles, the value and price of oil would collapse to under $30 and stay there. And as a "commodity" it would lose it's geopolitical value. And the u.s. would be able to greatly reduce the urge to be involved with large parts of the globe.

    It would also cripple a factory for terrorists who want to kill us and put a severe crimp in Putin's military aspirations.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 06, 2016 @11:41AM (#52061539)

    The US military expenditures around the world that support oil production both directly (US company presence) and indirectly (to prop up supportive regimes) is effectively an additional subsidy that US tax money funds, above and beyond the actual subsidies paid or exempted by the government. I suspect that all of these together are significantly higher than current alternative energy subsidies.

  • by l3v1 ( 787564 ) on Friday May 06, 2016 @12:29PM (#52062007)
    "Elon Musk: 'We Need a Revolt Against the Fossil Fuel Industry'"

    Yeah. Not. Everybody can guess there's much lobbying from the oil industry, no surprises there. However, nobody, and I mean nobody should come up to me and demand a revolution until they can actually create a suitable replacment.

    Yes, I know how many people juuust looove Teslas - especially those who've spent pretty amounts for them no sh*t - but not everyone has a fast chargr at home, not everyone has a garage with a private always available charging source, not everyone uses their cars to only go short distances, not everyone has so long a life to spend hours on end for charging on a roadtrip, and I could on with this for hours.

    Oh, and mind you, I actually like electric cars and support the direction these companies are trying to go towards.

    I just don't like when they seem to be dilusional.

    One more thing, which is actually beside the point, but I've just remembered I've read some people actually call the interior of the P90D luxurious. Now, come on people, we know love is blind, but there's only one thing there that's luxurious, and that's the price (yes, I know the'll release the cheaper, shorter range, less "luxurious" new model in like, a few years or so...).

    My point is, if you want a revolution, you create it, then, we'll buy it. NOT the other way around.

Neutrinos are into physicists.

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