If there is one point on which critics and fans of Elon Musk agree, it is that the billionaire is a defender of the environment. Musk co-founded Tesla, a company whose goal is to help build a sustainable world.
“Tesla is to protect life on Earth, SpaceX to extend life beyond,” the serial entrepreneur said about the mission of his two well-known companies on July 15.
“This is because the overarching purpose of Tesla Motors (and the reason I am funding the company) is to help expedite the move from a mine-and-burn hydrocarbon economy towards a solar electric economy, which I believe to be the primary, but not exclusive, sustainable solution,” Musk wrote in August 2006 when he introduced, through a blog post, what he called “The Secret Tesla Motors Master Plan (just between you and me).” A sort of secret guide to transform transportation and to save the planet from dying from pollution.
Tesla has thus accelerated the transformation of the automotive sector to electric vehicles, which reduces CO2 emissions from the most used mode of transport in the northern hemisphere.
Since the merger between Tesla and SolarCity, another company Musk launched, the manufacturer of electric vehicles also produces solar panels.
Population Collapse ‘Is a Much Bigger Risk’
In 2021, the tech tycoon purchase of Tesla cars with bitcoins, after reportedly told him that it required a lot of electricity to validate transactions (Proof-of-Work) made with the cryptocurrency.
But the billionaire believes that there is a priority, even a much more important problem today than global warming. That problem is the reduction of the world population, a phenomenon which particularly affects the countries of the northern hemisphere and China.
“Population collapse due to low birth rates is a much bigger risk to civilization than global warming,” the global CEO tweeted on August 26. As if to show that he is serious he added: “Mark these words.”
And to emphasize the urgency of depopulating western countries, which currently produces the majority of the wealth of our world, the whimsical boss wishes to remind us that he still considers that global warming is a big and crucial problem for the planet. He seems to suggest that it is more a matter of priority. Basically, we have to redefine the priorities. And at the top of the list should be the issue of population.
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“(And I do think global warming is a major risk),” Musk said.
This isn’t the first time Musk has brought up this issue. He has in the past sounded the alarm about population decline in Japan, Italy, South Korea, China and Hong Kong. He also warned of declining birth rates in the US and elsewhere.
Several Warning Signs
Musk’s new alarm comes after conflicting new data on world population trends.
The total fertility rate in South Korea, or the average number of children a woman bears during her lifetime, stood at 0.81 in 2021, compared to 0.84 the previous year, according to recent data from Statistics Korea (Kostat). It is the lowest figure since the statistics agency started compiling related data in 1970. Last year also marked the fourth year in a row that the number was below 1.
South Korea is the only country where the number of births per woman has remained below 1 among the 38 members of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). In 2020, the total fertility rate of OECD countries was 1.59 on average.
According to the United Nationsthe global population is projected to reach 8 billion on 15 November 2022. A peak of around 10.4 billion people will be reached during the 2080s and the world population will remain at that level until 2100.
But the organization also said that in 2021, the fertility rate was 2.3 children per woman, compared to 5 in 1950, and will be 2.1 in 2050. HSBC economists estimate, in a recent studythat this decline will be more significant, in particular with the better integration of women in the labor market, the rise in real estate and better access to care and contraceptive practices.
The trend of an aging global population also suggests that the death rate will rise sharply, warns HSBC. According to this study, the curves of the birth rate and that of the death rate could intersect between the years 2080 and 2090.
They therefore conclude that the world population will be halved in 80 years, to 4 billion inhabitants in 2100.