With President Trump declaring that the U.S. is leaving the Paris climate agreement, Elon Musk’s unsteady business model of relying upon government cash has become even more threatened.
The Tesla and SpaceX CEO has made billions of dollars off the backs of involuntary contributions from the American taxpayer, and America’s withdrawal from the global climate accord spells troubling times ahead for the entrepreneur.
After Trump’s announcement Thursday afternoon, Musk promptly declared that he was leaving the president’s advisory council.
Am departing presidential councils. Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 1, 2017
His decision was hailed as a principled, selfless act on behalf of the planet. News outlets like CNN, The Washington Post, The New York Times, and countless others glorified Musk’s decision to sever ties with the president.
However, a closer review of Musk’s energy businesses shows a much more self-centered motive was likely in play.
All of the tech pioneer’s major businesses rely on taxpayer subsidies. But specifically concerning the Paris agreement, America’s withdrawal most threatens his Tesla solar subsidiary. The fact SolarCity has already received around $1.5 billion (thanks to massive, cronyist tax credits), and hardly pays any taxes, seems not to enter into the equation for Musk.
When former President Barack Obama committed America to the deal, SolarCity stocks jumped 12 percent in one day. After the election of Donald Trump, who has long been a skeptic of climate change alarmism, Musk’s energy businesses has taken a plunge.
The Paris agreement devoted the United States to the principle of “enhanced deployment of renewable energy.” As demand for residential solar installations continues to slow, U.S. commitment to the agreement would serve as a lifeline for SolarCity, as it owns about 35 percent of the solar residential market share.
Even on the backs of the American taxpayer, however, SolarCity consistently reports quarterly losses to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars. Last year, the company reported a net loss of over $820 million and laid off thousands of employees in response.
That’s why it was so important for Musk for the U.S. to stay in the climate deal. It plausibly had little to do with the climate, and everything to do with his bottom line.
Under President Obama, the United States delivered billions of dollars to the Paris accord’s Green Climate Fund for renewable projects. Now, Musk must syphon local and state governments — which have unilaterally committed to the Paris agreement —for his green dollars.
Elon Musk is no “planet-saving superhero.” He is the ultimate venture socialist — a man who has mastered the art of forcing citizens to subsidize his businesses because his projects cannot make it on their own. Was Musk on the president’s council simply to try and convince Trump to further bail out his companies, to the detriment of the American people?
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