Elon Musk says world needs more oil and gas for one key reason

The world needs a bridge to the renewable energy future.
Ameya Paleja
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File photo of Elon Musk

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The world needs more oil and gas to deal with the energy shortages it is currently facing, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said at an energy conference in Norway on Monday, Bloomberg reported.

The comment might seem strange coming from a person who sells electric vehicles, battery packs, and solar roofing products. However, this isn't the first time Elon Musk has made such a comment.

Elon Musk: A supporter of fossil fuels?

Earlier this year, at the beginning of Russian aggression in Ukraine, Musk had tweeted on similar lines while also admitting that such a move is likely to be against Tesla's interests.

"Hate to say it, but we need to increase oil & gas output immediately. Extraordinary times demand extraordinary measures."

However, as Musk's wide fan following will agree, Elon is a pragmatic man, and his comments need to be taken in the context they have been made. At the onset of conflict in Ukraine, Musk realized the wielding power oil and gas exports gave Russia, and his comments were aimed at countering this effect.

Musk is also aware that oil and gas exploration and extraction cannot be done in a jiffy and he is reiterating his previous comments since the realities on the ground haven't changed. Rather Europe is facing its worst energy crisis in decades.

Amidst soaring energy prices, European officials have set aside 280 billion euros ($278 billion) in funds to ease the financial pain of businesses and individuals this year. However, given the scale of the problem, the funds are likely to fall short, Bloomberg said in its report.

What Elon Musk really said

At the event on Monday, Musk said that he wasn't someone who would demonize fossil fuels, and at this point, the world needed more oil and gas, not less. Musk and his company, Tesla, both aim at "accelerating sustainability," but the EV industry needed to expand massively to replace the energy provided by fossil fuels.

Musk added that in the short term, the world needed to use more oil and gas; otherwise, "civilization would crumble."

It is not just oil and gas that has Musk's support. The techno king has long been an admirer of nuclear fuel as a way to generate emission-less energy and added at the conference that well-designed nuclear power plants should not be shut down.

The comment largely seems to be directed at Germany, which has been shutting down its nuclear plants in a planned fashion. As of now, the country plans to shut down its three remaining nuclear power plants by the end of the year, which will add to the existing energy shortage that has been caused by the throttling of oil and gas supplies by Russia and outages at nuclear power plants in France.

Musk also pointed toward the "massive untapped potential" of ocean winds and urged that the world have a clear path to a sustainable energy future and the transition to a sustainable economy be "as fast as possible."

Norway, the host of the conference, is leading the way in transitioning toward a sustainable future with government incentives and policy working towards electric transportation. Interestingly, the funds that it is using to fuel this transition have come from the sale of its oil, Bloomberg reported.

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