Elon Musk vs Climate Change

No science blog would be complete without talking about climate change and I actually do that here from time to time, even poking some fun at the extremists on both sides of the discussion ten years ago.

“Discussion”…what a strange word to describe the communications between two groups of people with the wrong vision, and their hands over their ears, as they scream at each other and call each other stupid.

So, let’s use a different word this time…”Technology”.

Yes…there are folks who are considering the possibility of converting CO2 in the atmosphere of Earth into methane (aka Natural Gas). With enough of these plants producing methane this way, well…perhaps then we will have industrialized the removal of CO2 from our atmosphere. However, this really hasn’t taken root as a form of green energy because it produces a hydrocarbon fuel and has no profit motive because natural gas is still plentiful.

So, let’s talk about another one.

Electric cars as an idea have been around for a very long time. Electric cars as an actual product smoldered under a mountain of inadequate technology and high cost until a few years ago when an innovator and entrepreneur by the name of Elon Musk disrupted the industry with Tesla. Everyone reading this already knows what Tesla has done since then, so I don’t need to detail it here.

Before I go on you need to know that I own Tesla stock, I have since just before they merged with Solar City. I’m telling you this as a disclosure, not to give you a stock tip. Truth is that such a tip would be several years too late and I am not a reliable expert on such things anyway. Investment in market disruptors is very risky and not for the faint hearted and maybe not for folks who don’t understand how market disruptors work. I jumped in at the point where I thought they had passed their survivability curve and even then I think I got in a little too early. Getting in now might be too late. I don’t know.

Anyway, onward. Elon seems bent on singlehandedly solving the climate change problem. Well, not singlehandedly, he has his scientists and employees at Tesla. Tesla has triggered, as I said above, such a market disruption that other car companies now see a need to try and follow Tesla’s lead just for their own future survival. In spite of all that, Elon still thinks that the availability of electric vehicles to the general public is still not ramping up quickly enough to save human civilization from the catastrophic warming of the planet. To do that, production rates have to increase, costs need to decrease…many fold, and you and I all need to have to drive cars that plug in at night. A number of apparently impossible challenges need to be overcome before that can happen, but Tesla is trying to innovate around those in a number of ways…basically disrupting several side industries at once in the process

Now, you’d think that after Tesla announced it’s various technology improvement plans at Tesla Battery Day, including dramatic increases in the future range of their cars, reductions in cost and weight, and planned increases in the production rate of batteries and chassis through innovation, their stock price would go up, right? Stocks are weird though and Tesla’s stock price actually dropped for a while because they also announced that they would be able to sell $25,000 cars in a couple of years to bring the basic electric vehicle down to more folk’s price range and more seriously compete with ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) cars.

This is not all. Elon has also been caught talking about electric jet aircraft. Tesla’s new innovations in battery power density could bring the industry within theoretical striking distance of the commercial airline industry. It is not there yet, and with Tesla, The Boring Company, SpaceX and Starlink, Elon is a bit busy anyway. However, there are advantages to high altitude flight by electric planes over jet fuel burners that can be exploited for performance advantages once batteries improve a little bit more.

Indeed, the problem of climate change is not solved, but with enough smart people working on it, we will hopefully get it licked. As usual, I am not making any of this up…I just comment on things that I see and hear.

Do you know of other ways that smart people have plans to help the world reduce humanity’s carbon footprint?

Please like and comment.


~ by Bill Housley on October 4, 2020.

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