Elon Musk says ‘Oil and petrol should not be demonised in medium term, but…’

Elon Musk, founder of electric car maker Tesla has stated that oil and petrol should not be demonised in the medium term, but stressed about the need to cut carbon emissions in order to protect the environment.

Musk was speaking at a right-wing political gathering organised by Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s Brothers of Italy party.

During the gathering, he said, “Climate change alarm is exaggerated in the short term,” adding that the environmental movement may have gone too far, causing people to lose faith in the future.

At this month’s COP28 climate summit, representatives from nearly 200 countries agreed to begin reducing global consumption of fossil fuels to avert the worst of climate change, signalling the eventual end of the oil age.

Musk said he considers himself an environmentalist and added that it is important that, in the long run, industries reduce the billions of tons of carbon they take from the earth and release into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels.

“We should not demonise oil and gas in the medium term,” he added.

When he was asked whether his companies would invest in Italy, Musk said he was worried about the country’s declining birth rate.

“I think Italy is a great place to invest, but I do want to emphasise that I worry about a low birth rate. If the workforce declines than who will work in the country?” he said.

He also called for the Italian government to create incentives for families to have more children, adding that a country could not rely only on immigration flows to fill the gap.

Italy has earmarked around 1 billion euros ($1.09 billion) in next year’s budget to tackle the country’s demographic crisis. Births in Italy last year fell for the 14th year in a row and were the lowest since the country’s unification in 1861. Speaking about social media site X, Musk played down concerns about a fall in advertising on the platform. The platform is “already seeing advertisers return”, he said.

(With inputs from Reuters)

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