Tesla CEO Elon Musk On Climate Change In Paris For COP21 – Video

DEC 2 2015 BY JAY COLE 81

COP21 is now underway in Paris.  The focus is to hold the average global temperature rise to no more than 2 more degrees Celsius.

Elon Musk From

Elon Musk From The Sorbonne

Naturally, there is lots of lively debate around the topic, and how to achieve goals (which we won’t cover here), instead we’ll focus just on the parts of the conference centering around the plug-in automobile and how best to charge it up.

More specifically, here is Elon Musk’s address from the Sorbonne today.

Not unexpectedly, the CEO of Tesla and President of SolarCity Mr. Musk spoke at length about getting off petrol and into all-electric transportation, as well as mixing in more solar renewable energy to the grid, in a very lengthy, yet engaging presentation (followed by a Q&S) as only the Tesla boss can offer.

Mr. Musk stated that it was a fact we are now “exiting the fossil fuel era”, but how fast is up to us, and that it would easier to increase solar production over dealing with underwater cities.

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81 Comments on "Tesla CEO Elon Musk On Climate Change In Paris For COP21 – Video"

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Probably one of the best talks he’s given…

A phased-in revenue neutral Carbon Tax should be something everyone at COP21 agrees on.

Yeah states could do like Jerry Brown is doing in California, use the carbon tax to build a high speed rail system that no one will use.

You actually have to complete something, before anyone can rationally predict there is no market demand for it.

Having lived in SoCal, I know firsthand there is PLENTYof demand for high speed transport between LA and SF. Duh.

Maybe you’re heard of the HyperLoop too, eh?

Can you imagine what it would be like to take the CA HSR funding and use it to design and build the Hyperloop? Now THAT would be visionary.

Or, give it back to everyone equally monthly. Via a payroll tax holiday for those who pay tax, and higher SS or welfare for those that don’t. This is simple and regular people can get behind it. Most of the arguments and confusion come from the likely sources.

What you say even enables border adjustments to drag the laggard nations along out of self interest. I declare this policy bug-free. That’s because it’s simple. Government already takes money from the economy. Make government take money from the hugely risky thing and less from the normal stuff, until the hugely risky thing is 99.99% wiped out, and there’s very little money to be taken from it.

“Government already takes money from the economy” – uh, what? This makes absolutely no sense. Every last cent goes back into the economy in the form of direct services (maintenance and repair), funding of fundamental research, military/intelligence operations, services to the poor (which then spend that money, which is why they are given the money – they need it to survive), and the incomes of all the people that make these things happen, which then spend their incomes on goods, services and housing.

Gov’t is neither separate from, nor impedes, market economies. Gov’t, like here in the USA, maintains competition (anti-trust) and reigns in extreme risks (stock and commodities regulations). These are necessary functions in order to enable a market economy to maximize efficiency.

That would not be different with the carbon tax since 100% of it would go back in the economy in exactly the same way. The big difference is that today companies avoid heavy taxes on jobs by employing less people, consumers avoid buying mundane consumer goods like a new dress or even food because there is so much VAT on it. The proposition is very cheap employment costs, mundane goods cost but a higher price of any carbon emission.

This is what is done in Norway; high taxes on fossil fueled car and on fossil fuel, and on fossil fuel it self. That gives lower levels of other taxes.
Every country can do this. Maybe not to day, but from 2018 when the EV should be suitable for more people, it is possible.

As we have several people here that have demonstrated first-ish (read Not website hyperbole) knowledge of the numbers involved:
What would the cost be in phasing in a penny thru a nickel per pound carbon tax? Anyone have a link with Sound and agreed numbers?

Is there a Sound and agreed upon method for determing how much carbon a company emits?


These people have all the answers you seek. Read their laser talks (their volunteer group catechism, in digestible chunks). They’re (we’re) volunteers. What little money we’ve raised, we’ve poured into economic studies. We really, really, really, really want to get a phased-in revenue-neutral carbon tax done and get rid of our reason for existing as a group!

Short answer: Our proposal starts at $10/ton specifically in order to keep the cost of implementation under a few percent of the total collected fee.

If you’re interested in how to do make this happen and want to help, please join a chapter or start one.

What CCL does: We get people excited to write their MoC’s and letters to the editor and reach out to and inform constituencies like farm boards, industry, and civil groups. We talk to congress to know what we can do to make this go through. And they’re totally open to new thinking, so give it to them. I’ve seen their ideas honed and targeted over the last few years.

I hope you mean 10$ per kilogram because otherwise it would be pointless. At 10$ per ton that would mean less than 0.03 $ per liter of fossil fuel. At 10$ per Kg it would mean 30 $ per liter of fossil fuel. You want to keep on burning fossils all right you pay 30$ extra for it. There will be not much gasoline vehicles driving on the road except on rare Sunday collector events and they would be brought on a trailer to the gathering place to save the costly fossil smeary thing. People would start to assist to the unique event of a start up of a gasoline engine. Very much like the starting of an old stream locomotive today.
There is one hic though, we won’t be able to do that for real before the arrival of the Model 3 that will make it possible for all.

I notice this covers dividend cost, not fee cost. The cheapest way to do the fee is to collect it at the port or mine or drill. It’s already well accounted for at that point. It’s easy to run the numbers because of that.

Collecting it at the port, mine or drill is indeed the right place and the very super easy first step is to start on the imported part of fossils by placing a significant duty at the country entrance. That is more likely to be accepted by the people the politicians and will be less opposed by local producers since it even favor them initially. When that is acquired, you supplement by a global tax on all origins but that leave the local producers still exempt from the import duty. Overall foreign fossils become unaffordable, local fossils become more costly, energy transition cost got paid by the duty and the global tax. Renewable flourish, create jobs and limit the global warming to manageable levels. We still have to build a dam around New York and under the golden gate but we avoid the scuba diving shopping on the former time square.

DON’T GET ME WRONG, I LOVE EV’s & A CLEAN ENVROMENT,IT WILL SAVE “THE PEOPLE” OF THIS PLANET.. “CLIMATE CHANGE” DUE TO HYDROCARBONS? or Other Greenhouse Gases??.. “A T0TAL FALSE PERCEPTION” & A $$$ MONEY GRAB $$$!! THE POLLUTION WE PUT 0UT IS DANGEROUS FOR “ALL LIVING THINGS” ON THIS PLANET!& YES!That is True & these Practces “MUST BE STOPED”.,HOWEVER..,THAT IS “N0T” THE “REAL REASON” FOR CLIMATE CHANGE!THE CLIMATE HAS BEEN CHANGING SINCE THE BEGINING OF TIME!, & WILL Always Keep On Changing. THAT IS THE NATURE OF THINGS & THE WAY The Earth Works, what we Fail to understand is that people 0ut there are taking things toooooo far for their own profit & $$$$$ Gain ,to enhance heir bottom line.$$$…

Didn’t understand nothing that you write but:

You either grasp the science behind this new extinction era, or you generate FUD / gibberish from nothing more than personal opinion– and thereby delay sensible reaction the problem by appealing to misguided emotion instead of hard data.

Please don’t lobby for consensus on stupidity. Already had enough of that.

Fix the problem. Tax Carbon!

Please explain haw a “carbon tax” will do anything more than the billions of tax payer dollars being thrown at climate science and failed green energy companies haven’t been able to do?


Tax things you want less of. The market will figure it out.


What Nick said.
People adjust behavior based on cost.

The idea is to price in negative externalities (negative effects that aren’t currently included in cost) to try to get a more accurate price. That helps to encourage efficiency and helps make more efficient alternatives more competitive without many of the negative consequences of subsidizing the cost of the alternative.

Tax carbon, yet 1st why do we still pay subsidies to COAL, NG, OIL and Nuclear. Stop subsidies 1st.

Your blind, shortsighted politically motivated retort has no weight or place, in such serious discussion. You need to grasp that the fate of humanity, and life as we know it– is at risk.

Did you even watch Elon’s presentation? It’s fully explained for anyone with even an 8th grade education. Please watch the entire thing, including the follow up questions that should help you grock this, better than you currently do.

There is no point repeating what Elon has already clearly spelled out. Watch it again, if you’re still confused.

Carbon Tax!!! JUST DO IT!!!! ™

Looks like right-wing ralph is here to spread the seriously discredited right-wing FUD heavily bankrolled by the Koch Heads and their other fossil fools of the 1% of 1%crowd.

So here’s the truth behind your Heritage Foundation FUD bankrolled by the Koch Heads and EXXON among other fossil fool companies:



It’s funny that you’re attacking a right-wing funded propaganda site by touting three left-wing funded propaganda sites.

‘This bumpersticker exploits the illiterate.’


Only it is changing a lot faster now because of all the CO2 humans release into the atmosphere.

On the geological scale, it’s an instantaneous scale, a punch in the face of the living.

Hem… ” instantaneous spike”

If you take politics out of the equation, nobody would question climate change or the source of it. Political bias (and oil company funded science) is the only thing stopping people from seeing the truth. Also, it might help to turn the caps lock off.

It’s not just politics, it’s also economics. Nobody wants to admit, even to themselves, that the company they work for (or the hobby they pursue) is contributing to a mass extinction event, or destruction of the environment due to over-harvesting and pollution. “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!” –Upton Sinclair It’s rather silly to focus on the piffling few degrees of global warming. Natural climate cycles are on the order of a 10 degree shift between ice ages and interglacial periods. Humans have adapted to those changes, and we certainly can adapt to the world being a few degrees warmer. The real problems, which is what we should be talking about, are human overpopulation, resource depletion, acidification of the oceans, and poisoning of the land and air. For example, over-use of pesticides has reduced bee populations in in first-world countries by up to 90%, and the resultant reduction in pollination will certainly have a lot more impact on our economy and culture than the weather getting hotter by a piffling few degrees! Sometimes I think this obsession with a tiny amount of global warming is an intentional… Read more »

A lot of the problem is human ego, coming to terms (or not) with a problem that often seems subtle and far off, yet apocalyptic in its depth and scope.

2 degrees C (or K, if you prefer) isn’t some random number picked out of the aether. It’s agreed upon as the amount beyond which things start to snowball in very damaging and expensive ways. Up to 2 degrees of warming, it is indeed, just a bit warmer. Beyond that is when things start to get catastrophic.

You can read about it here. https://www.climatestewards.org/why-2-degrees/

And those natural 10 degree shifts in climate change? They weren’t so great for whatever was the dominant species at the time they occurred.

“Natural climate cycles are on the order of a 10 degree shift between ice ages and interglacial periods. Humans have adapted to those changes, and we certainly can adapt to the world being a few degrees warmer.”

We weren’t trying to support 7.1 billion people the last time the climate was significantly warmer or cooler than it is now. It is highly unlikely that we could support the current population under the conditions of the last ice age, and it is an open question what level of population could be supported in a two degree warmer world let alone three or four degrees.

Trying to dismiss climate change because other threats exist doesn’t make any sense, we can work on multiple fronts at once. If we wait until after we deal with overpopulation before addressing climate change it will be too late to stop several degrees of warming and a guarantee of one of the biggest mass extinctions ever.

If you consider ocean acidification to be a legitimate problem more worthy of being addressed than climate change, do you have a way to stop ocean acidification without reducing carbon emissions?

Not to mention the geopolitical nightmare of migration from coastlines and estuaries. Half of the world’s population lives within 97 miles of the coasts of the oceans (3.5+ billion). Nearly half of the world’s population (about 3 billion) lives within 50 miles of ocean coast. Imagine, in the next 60 years, relocating way over 50% of the I-95 corridor population and businesses: moving people away from Boston through southern Connecticut, from most of New York City and Newark, and up the bays and rivers from most of Philadelphia and Trenton, Wilmington, Baltimore, DC…all having to be permanently relocated…and we here in the USA are in a relatively able and stable society with room to expand… Now imagine moving even greater densities of people in these overpopulated poor regions that are already doing without proper drinking water and sufficient food, etc., and move them inland: Bangladesh, Calcutta, Mumbai, much of Indonesia…… All within the next 50 to 60 years, even staying under 2C global temp increase. Anthropomorphic global warming is the key to all of this – the same things that cause warming are also the ones that cause rapid depletions of resources, ocean acidification, general pollution, etc. That’s why the… Read more »

This presentation was a bit of preaching to the choir. He wasn’t trying to spoon feed the concepts of global warming to the right wing “it’s a librul conspiracy” nuts like yourself. Perhaps you should watch An Inconvenient Truth to better understand the scope of the problem. It’s a wee bit more complicated than “it’s gonna get a bit warmer” but the Faux News way of propaganda depends on you not really knowing the actual facts or the ins and outs of the theory, just shouting back and forth about vague bumper sticker slogans.

Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” is every bit as guilty of truth-twisting, cherry-picking facts and ignoring “inconvenient” facts, as the average Fox so-called “news” story.

The way to fight propaganda is with the Truth, it’s not by making up opposing lies.

Sad. No, you need to link to Nick’s reference about the film and it being tested in UK Court, and the myth’s you’re perpetuating simply because of a conservative political propaganda exposure, or personalizing the issue because Al Gore’s face is associated with it and you don’t like him.

Time to read, learn and update your thinking on the matter, PP…

oh lensman

“An Inconvenient Truth” made two errors that I am aware of. The Kilimanjaro glaciers are mostly not melting from climate change, and a graph was misattributed. In addition, we still don’t know if it was right about hurricanes. It also didn’t give a time frame for most of the negative effects, so most people figured 20 years would be long enough. However, it will take more like 200 years for the worst of the predictions to occur.

Really, for a documentary it didn’t do badly.

You appear to be having a seizure.

Lay down on your side and remain calm. If this is your first seizure, please call 911 as soon as you can safely move.

What amazes me about rants like the above is that they try to portray global warming mitigation as a money grab, while ignoring the fact that most people will readily accept that global warming denial is being financed by interests with a huge stake in the continued use of fossil fuels.

It has proven to be not too hard to trace denial back to names like Koch and look at the big fuss over Exxon Mobil’s reaction to being warned by scientists on it’s own payroll about global warming.

I wonder how people like EVcarNut will feel if/when they find out they have been victims of a well funded misinformation campaign? A campaign funded by interests who, very selfishly want us to continue spending our money on their products, rather that turn away from them, as global warming mitigation suggests we must do.

The “Money Grab Myth” regarding any time someone even mentions moving to sustainables, cleaning up the environment, moving to cleaner technologies, taxing corporations for their carbon, etc., is often transmitted to those weak-minded enough to absorb pro-corporate propaganda on media distribution hubs like Fox News, etc.

Long term exposure makes you dumb:



Scientists know that “THE CLIMATE HAS BEEN CHANGING SINCE THE BEGINING OF TIME”. It has been accounted for and we still have a problem.

Please learn to write.

Facts as opposed to fiction.

I don’t understand why we waste so much time arguing about wether or not climate change is due to people or not when you have to do something about it either way. A flooded coastal community is not going to be worrying about who to blame but what to do about it. The environment is worth protection whether or not the climate is changing.

Because corporations like Exxon Mobile have corrupted the anthropogenic discussion of the issue, and spent decades taking over the narrative and successfully stopped anyone doing anything about the problem in a globally unified or successful way.

They have won, and we’ll all suffer for it.

He took his favorite vehicle, his Dassault Falcon. I assume he will be taking a year off working so he can plant the trees to make up for the flight

I think Elon’s contributions to cleaning up our environment more than make up for one private jet flight.

One private jet flight? Elon owns the Dassault Falcon, uses it all the time, and then charges Tesla, SpaceX, or Solar City to pay for cost of flying him around, albeit at a reduced rate (reduced, at least immediately after Tesla’s IPO). Anyways, taking a private jet to a climate change conference does smack of hypocrisy. It’s not like Paris is some dusty, backwater town that doesn’t have an ample number commercial flights landing at its multiple international airports. It’s like actress Jennifer Aniston of Friends fame. She touts her environmental activism and green credentials by swapping her Range Rover for a Prius, installing solar panels and planting drought-resistant plants at her Beverly Hills mansion, taking three-minutes showers and brushing her teeth while showering to conserve water. Then Jennifer Aniston does a commercial for Emirates Airlines, which has one of the worst, if not thee worst, CO2 emissions per passenger-mile traveled of all the commercial airlines in the world. In the commercial, Aniston touts how great it is to take a shower at 40,000 feet in a commercial airliner as if there is no additional carbon footprint for an airliner to carry the extra weight of enough water for all… Read more »

Full commercial here:

Elon is not the type who claims he necessarily lives a low carbon life-style (unlike celebrities), but the impact he makes from his companies is far higher than what he does individually. Overall the argument reeks of shooting the messenger, similar to criticisms of Al Gore a long while back.

I’m just saying appearances count, and it’s bad PR to fly in a private jet to a major city for the world’s biggest climate change conference in years. Why give fodder to climate change deniers?

Flying in on a private jet isn’t going to win any hearts and minds in the climate change debate. If anything, it’s going to make some people think Musk is a hypocrite and snake-oil salesman.

Appearances matter. I call it like I see it. Don’t shoot the messenger. It is what it is. Peace out.

I’d prefer that Musk was more of a lead by example type of CEO, at least when flying to the COP20 UN Conference on Climate Change.

In this case, he is talking about EVs, solar energy, a carbon tax, and energy subsidies. Flying in a private jet does not negate any of that.

If on the other hand, he was there primarily to talk about reductions in emissions from air travel (for example his electric jet idea) then perhaps that will apply.

Overall, I don’t think there will be much criticism of him riding a private jet other than from people who like to criticize him in the first place.

You got a good point there…

But I think Elon is still better than the Exxon Mobile executive staff flying all the over world with their private jets while its company still spews more CO2…

So, I guess it is all relative.

But you are right that “image” doesn’t look good and only gives the other side more “stuff” to whine..

There are sometimes some complications in doing fully what you want and what is available or possible.

Elon is using a jet to reduce the travel time and improve the number of things he can do in 24 hours. He is also using RP-1 in the Falcon 9 to reduce cost and dynamic drag, ironically pushing out Ariane 5 which actually already did the move to Hydrogen that can be made in non fossil ways. He is building the Raptor engine on methane another fossil fuel, but at least a lesser one and it can be produced in a biogas plant in a renewable way. The idea being that it is needed to lower the cost by easing reusability of a rocket engine that is not so easily spoiled by cocking fuel.

So, yes Elon actions can seem contradictory, but no they are not and make long term global sense.

For the symbol he could do the following:
Use bio jet fuel like Virgin is doing. (If Dassault agree and is available in Paris and …)
Place solar panels on the roof of the house. (If they are authorized in Bel Air, if the neighbors don’t find them ugly…)
Replace that fracking gas cocking stove in his kitchen with induction plates. (If he is not hocked to that old rustic view of it and the so called true naked flame…)
Finally make the change to a led of that last bulb in the toilet. (If he finds a second to think about it…)

Jealous! 😉

Elon Musk can have all of my carbon credits. He can use them any way he sees fit.

After watching that funky Tesla on ‘Racing Extinction’ tonight, I am reminded to put forward that it would be appropriate to dismiss anyone who dismisses action on climate change. Extremely sobering. Between ocean acidification and arctic methane release, it is moronic to argue merits and just keep whining about costs or blame. This is an EXISTENTIAL threat, not a thoughtful topic for debate. Gawd, I just want to barf that there are still people who put out drivel like the comment above. And my grandchildren will be suffering much more than gastric distress.

I continue to put forth my vision of the biblical relief that many want to seem to take comfort in-
picture the Creator saying, ‘Yeah, there will be a new heaven and a new earth…but that is for those who cared about THIS place; the rest of you can stay here and clean up your mess!’

USA needs to increase their Tax on Petrol / Gasoline.

Elon is very focused on his 3 topics so obvious again how it’s waste of his time to answer these philosophical or too easy to Google questions ,as a result he will reduce his public appearance even more as he already said 🙁

I understand he can’t use examples of any nation or company except his,as the press would make huge bubble about his thoughts. as a result he repeats him self more and more about giant fusion reactor cold sun and carbon tax although example about fruits and cigarettes is worth to spread.so I recommend to ask him only about numbers, like what percentage of building batteries and panels is recycled materials? would they invest in that? what needs to be regulated that solar city would work abroad? hope it’s not last his appearance. watch this instead from nada about carbon levels

1.) How’s the air quality in Beijing?

2.) What makes that smog?

3.) Is there a dome keeps that smog there?

No, there isn’t.

In time, everyone will breathe that filth.

What are we/you/they doing to prevent that?

Sensors on the ocean surface, and sensors on the West coast of North America, have been detecting increasing amounts of China-based pollution for years.

Can I get the slides ? As PDF ?

Tank you

Elon Musk should really do something about that stuttering. His speeches are often good but the delivery is painful.

The uncertainty of his delivery, actually forces me to pay more attention to his meaning…

Yes, he would seem a poor choice for giving this speech, especially since he is less knowledgeable than some. But he is famous and willing, so speech he gives.

Elon mentions two ways two solve the problem. (Carbon TAX and Sustainable energy subsidies)
What about a third way? I don’t recall lead in gas being taxed back in the 70’s to discourage its use. It was simply aggressively phased out to the point of near non-existence for motor vehicles. How about doing the same thing with sales of carbon producing machinery. (Trucks, Buses, Ships, Cars)


We also need a much bigger emphasis on the number one emitter, central heating with a burner instead of a heat pump. There are still so many houses build with a burning based heating system, be it gas, oil or even coal. That is even more mind boggling since their is no lack of heat pump battery capacity since it is simply wired to the grid. Just pure imagination laziness of so many people that are still stuck in the “you have to burn something to heat a house” mentality.

The only real solution is to find things that are better than fossil fuel. Luckily, we are already going in that direction. Solar panels get more efficient and cheaper with an amazing rate, the same with batteries and electric cars.
The fossil fuel era will end when we don’t need fossil fuels anymore, that’s what we should be aiming at.

“When we first started Tesla and Solar City, we thought they would fail”… Wow!
32:57 into the presentation, during the Q&A. Musk goes on to say after 33:00, ” – in fact, Tesla in particular we gave perhaps a 10% chance of success.”

Starting a new car company these days, almost impossible. Much harder than he would have thought – so many challenges. Not the least of which is the legacy car companies and non-sustainable energy companies trying to snuff you out.

When I hear of Apple or some mystery company trying to start into the auto business – I roll my eyes and think how steep the uphill battle.

I want to support Tesla all I can. I cannot buy a $120,000 car. I can buy a $35,000 car. And I will if Tesla can stick it out long enough to see that through as a reality.

True, it’s a very difficult business to get into. Tesla has been very lucky on a couple of occasions, like for example the purchase of the Fremont factory for pennies on the dollar. It was a joint GM-Toyota venture but they had recently been forced to shut it down because of the recession. They didn’t know what to do with it but then Elon showed up and wanted to take it off their hands so he got it really cheap. When it comes to Apple it’s not quite the same situation. Tesla has really struggled to make ends meet at times and they are still not in a good financial situation. Apple on the other hands have more money than they know what to do with. Tesla really struggled with finding investors, Apple don’t need any. Whether the Apple car will have success is a matter of timing. Right now the window is open to launch a decent electric car that has some eye-raising IT features since the competition in the electric market isn’t that hard. This has served Tesla very good for now by releasing an admittedly expensive car but with great performance in acceleration and safety. Once all… Read more »

Electronic systems are nice but they presently tend to become a distraction for the core interest of a long range electric car for everyone. Most people see cars as a tool to move around not an extra playstation device. In that sense the Model 3 will be really a comeback towards what is really important. Not i things, not self park, not self drive, not 0 to 60 seconds but range, charge duration and charge convenience. That is the 3 basic, really needed assets that people look for and obviously last but not least an affordable price (On par with an oil car price gasoline or energy included).

Absolutely !

Thats exact the reason why i bought 2013 a Renault ZOE. To support the cool Job Renault did by introducing an inexpensive 100% e-car i could afford.
All other e-cars have been too expensive, not on the market or they had slow AC charging.

It is important to support thc change. There are so many used e-cars around now. It is easy fpr everyone to buy a used Leaf, ZOE or iMieV NOW.