Elon Musk: The rules are for thee, not for me!

Promoted from the diaries by streiff. Promotion does not imply endorsement.

Celebrity businessman, attention whore and all around environmentalist good guy Elon Musk manufactures Tesla all-electric automobiles — which are, once again, having problems — and famously told President Donald Trump that the US should remain part of the Paris climate accords.


Clearly, climate change is of great significance to Mr Musk, and he wants us to do all that we can to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, to save the future of our world.

What, then, are we supposed to make of this report, from The Washington Post:

Elon Musk’s highflying 2018: What 150,000 miles in a private jet reveal about his ‘excruciating’ year

By Drew Harwell | January 29 at 1:25 PM

Tesla chief Elon Musk’s corporate jet flew more than 150,000 miles last year, or more than six times around the Earth, as he raced between the outposts of his futuristic empire during what he has called “the most difficult and painful year” of his career, according to flight records obtained by The Washington Post.

The billionaire executive’s frequent travel on a private plane was largely paid for by Tesla, the cash-burning automaker that faces billions of dollars in debt and has laid off thousands of employees within the last year, including slashing 7 percent of its workforce this month.

Musk’s jet logged more than 250 flights for his work, pet projects and vacations across Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East during a year when he said his electric-car giant was losing up to $100 million a week and teetered on the brink of collapse.

But Musk’s relentless schedule was eased by a level of convenience and luxury few but the ultrawealthy can afford. Some of the flights were recreational getaways for Musk or his family, while others involved moving the plane from one side of Los Angeles to the other to help Musk shorten his commutes.


To shorten his commutes? The esteemed Mr Musk surely, surely! used a (supposedly) climate-friendly Tesla in his commutes, so ‘shorten(ing) his commutes’ involved giving up a climate-friendly automobile ride to spend more fuel and money in his private jet. The Post article tells us just how utterly busy Mr Musk is, giving us the reason behind all of his travel, but having his private jet flown from one side of LA to the other hardly constitutes extreme need.

But it also reveals an awkward dynamic for one of the world’s most outspoken crusaders of renewable energy: In September, a few days after calling fossil fuels “the dumbest experiment in human history,” his plane burned thousands of pounds of jet fuel flying 300 miles from L.A. to Oakland so Musk could view a competitive video-gaming event.

“We know we’ll run out of dead dinosaurs to mine for fuel & have to use sustainable energy eventually,” Musk tweeted in November on the same day his jet flew over Mexico for what Tesla says was a personal trip. “So why not go renewable now & avoid increasing risk of climate catastrophe?”

A personal trip? Mr Musk’s 2015 Gulfstream G650ER, which the Post article sells for about $70 million¹ on vacations as well as business trips. He has five separate mansions in the upper-class Bel Air neighborhood, all of which use energy, even when he isn’t there.


Does Elon Musk really believe that climate change is a vital issue, and that we have to do everything we can to arrest it? Not being a mind-reader, I cannot answer that question. But his behavior says, loudly and clearly, that whatever sacrifices he believes that people must make to stop climate change, he means those sacrifices to be made by other people, not himself.
¹ – That’s the approximate selling price of the aircraft; the Post article is not claiming that is what Mr Musk paid.
Cross-posted on The First Street Journal.


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