by Alex Onukwue
Among the early fallouts from the US withdrawal from the Paris Deal has been the resignation of two members of Donald Trump’s advisory council, Disney’s Bob Iger and Elon Musk of Tesla/Space X.
In particular, Musk’s decision to finally step off the Trump train is significant as he had shown a willingness to play the role of possibly getting Trump to change his mind on Climate change. The South African-born billionaire, whose electric cars, solar panels and recyclable rockets are produced mainly in the US (a good number in Republican domains) is recognised as a leading evidence of the feasibility of climate smart technology that can be trusted.
But Trump ultimately decided against Musk, and for all the focus on bringing jobs back to coal cities, the cold shoulder to the future technologies pioneered by Musk will be a trick missed.
In truth, the green business models of both Tesla and Space X have benefitted from Government support over the years, in form of tax credits and grants. As such, it is reasonable to understand Musk’s disappointment with Trump’s anti-Paris stance from an economic perspective. That said, that Musk’s bold innovations are inspiring a different generation of engineers to think ‘Green First’ is not to be underestimated.
With talk of disruptive travel modes such as the Hyperloop, Musk has been moving fast towards transformational technology that will solve traffic problems that produce pollution and disturb social life. Cue the shutdown of schools in India last year and the smog in Paris that led to the temporary use of the odd-even traffic rule.
If Musk had been radical over the years in changing the world’s view of technology, his job may have got a bit more difficult. But he’s gonna find another route, isn’t he?