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Elon Musk - Does he really make sense?

2021-03-09 5 min read rant climate Sebastian Appler

I had a weird feeling about Elon Musk for a long time now. I like his ideas and when he talks everything sounds perfect. But when I look at what actually happens something is off. When I look close enough what Elon Musk actually does it doesn’t really make sense.


The first thing that planted a seed in my head is his view on the climate. Elon claims in many different ways that he cares for the climate. Sure, we have the Tesla that is the frontline of electric cars. The process of manufacturing electric cars has many downsides as well, like the manufacturing, minerals needed and battery production. There’s also a lot of sketchy things going on when you need to repair the car, you need to order original parts directly from Tesla to ship across the world. But fine I can accept that Tesla has some benefits for the climate. But it gets more interesting…


Elon is hyping the Bitcoin and even Dogecoin. Bitcoin has have showed us to have an alarmingly high energy consumption. It will definitely impacts the climate negatively. It will get worse by time since Bitcoin just becomes harder to mine. Recently he used Tesla to buy Bitcoin for $1.5 billion. This effectively ensures that Bitcoin will survival while it pushes the popularity for cryptocurrency even more. If you care for the climate there should be better way to support the planet other than invest in one of the biggest human innovations that requires greed and resource wasting to survive.


With SpaceX, Elon sends rockets to space with the promise that he will take humanity to Mars. It’s very exciting and I think most people, including myself, just accept the Mars-argument without a second thought. But lets take a few steps back. For starters, it would probably be much better to start building a moonbase first. The ideas about the moon is something we almost never hear about. I guess it’s not as good in the media as the terraforming Mars plan.

Elon is a big twitter user. It’s a strong tool for him to announce important happenings. But when NASA successfully landed Perseverance on Mars his twitter was as dead as the dead sea. I searched extensively for any sign of Elons excitement about this amazing feat. Finally I found a small congratulations on NASA’s announcement the landing. Serious, are you not tweeting about this historical moment that is so strongly connected to your said purpose of life? This very happening may be one of the most important milestones in the journey to Mars. It doesn’t make any sense. From what I can tell he just had to say something (preferably hidden) to satisfy the crowd.

To claim that he wants to colonise Mars seems to give Musk a free-card to excuse his actions. It’s all part of the plan. He don’t need to put any effort on current problems. He can just say he’s focused to get us to Mars. If the earth is still habitable when we can send the first marsians it would still take hundreds of years to before it’s even remotely habitable. Elon mostly gets away by dropping a joke about bombing Mars with nuclear bombs, but that’s far from all the obstacles we will face. Kurzgesagt has an awesome video that summarize some of the problems we will face. For me it’s pretty clear that humanity will not be able to go there any time soon. It would be a far stretch to just survive in an underground tube on Mars.


While spending a $1.5bn on Bitcoin and avoiding to tweet about NASA’s Perseverence landing. He did tweet about a competition to give $100 millions to the best carbon capture invention. While, of course, this in a good thing. It seems like a pretty pathetic “donation” for one of the richest person’s in the world. If we start to talk billions. Elon now donates $0.1bn to save the planet. Compare that with Bill Gates who donated over $50 billion. I’m not saying he has to be the savior but it looks more like Musk is playing the looking good card here. – I’m such a good guy, I will donate millions of dollar for cool tech. Look how I’m helping to save the world. He doesn’t seem to care much about his own Musk Foundation either. The website look like a text file. It’s probably something to prove that the foundation actually exists.

PR stunts

If Elon is something he is a PR genius. He has a way to make the whole world to listen to him. He often tease about cool ideas and things of the future that sounds amazing and innovative. Looking at history he’s more calculating with his stunts than I imagined. Take a look on the example with the Thailand boys that were trapped in a cave. Elon (for some reason) wanted to save the Thailand kids. He wanted to force the rescue team to use one of his “mini-subs”. When the rescue team refused he called someone involved a “pedo-guy”. This raises so many questions. Why does he even care? There would be so many opportunities to help but this is one of the few he actually step his foot in. The only reason I can see is for the good media exposure it brings. But cases like these proves something. If it’s true he only did it for media exposure we can be sure more of this is happening.

It’s in the cracks you may find the real reasons. You do not become the richest person in the world by just playing by the book. He reminds me about what it takes to be a successful company – The rate of success is about how much can you screw others and still get away with it.