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- South African–born American entrepreneur
Elon Musk once again voiced his support for a carbon tax at Tesla's annual shareholder meeting.
He said the policy "is really needed," and would benefit Tesla, but hurt ultimately SpaceX.
Musk said "do not worry too much about methane," the gas responsible for 20% of greenhouse emissions.
Elon Musk endorsed a carbon tax at Tesla's annual shareholder meeting on Thursday, a position he's held since 2015, even though implementing one could impact his spaceflight ambitions.
Earlier this year, Musk said he suggested the policy to the Biden administration but was told it was too "politically difficult."
"Can there be a carbon tax? I mean, what the hell?" Musk told shareholders, adding that while the tax would benefit Tesla, it would ultimately hurt SpaceX.
He added that people should not "worry too much about methane," the gas responsible for 20% of global greenhouse emissions. According to the EPA, methane is 25 times as strong as carbon dioxide when it comes to trapping heat in the atmosphere.
It's also the gas used to fuel SpaceX's Starship rocket, which Musk hopes to send to Mars. In January, Tesla announced plans to drill near a Texas launchpad for natural gas.
"Methane quickly breaks down into CO2," Musk said. "Methane is not a stable molecule, CO2 is extremely stable."
Methane emissions occur during "all phases of drilling and production," according to the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Recent research suggests methane released from oil and gas facilities is significantly higher than the government's current estimate.
However, when methane is used as rocket fuel, it burns with liquid oxygen and releases carbon dioxide and water vapor into the atmosphere. That means SpaceX's Raptor engine would only directly contribute to methane emissions through potential leakage.
Significantly reducing methane emissions would "have a rapid and significant effect on atmospheric warming potential," the EPA says. According to the agency's Global Methane Initiative, methane concentrations in the atmosphere have doubled over the last two centuries.
With Musk's $100 million investment in carbon-capturing technologies, it may be possible for SpaceX to continuously recycle gas released by its rockets into the atmosphere.
"We try very hard to do the right thing in all respects. We do not always succeed," Musk said at the meeting. "But if you're looking for a company where we say, is that company really trying to do the right thing? That is Tesla."
Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the fuel mixture used by SpaceX. It is liquid methane and oxygen.
Read the original article on Business Insider