Elon Musk Says Biden Administration Rejected His Proposed Carbon Tax

by : Cameron Frew on : 15 Feb 2021 18:57
Elon Musk Says Biden Administration Rejected His Proposed Carbon TaxPA Images

Elon Musk says the Biden administration rejected his proposal for a carbon tax. 

Part of President Joe Biden’s plans to combat climate change include reaching 100% clean energy by 2035 and achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.


Musk believes a carbon tax would essentially speed up the country’s shift to renewable energy. However, when he took it to the White House, he was turned down as it was deemed ‘too politically difficult’.

Elon Musk JREPowerfulJRE/YouTube

Recently, Biden pledged to replace the entire US federal fleet with electric vehicles. However, while appearing on a recent episode of The Joe Rogan Experience, Musk argued ‘a hell of a lot of batteries [are] needed’ for moving towards renewable energy, meaning the government should ‘put a price on carbon’.

The Tesla CEO explained: ‘My top recommendation honestly would be just to have a carbon tax. Because we’re not paying for the CO2 capacity of the oceans and atmosphere, we have what in economics is called an unpriced externality. The market is unable to respond to an unpriced externality. If we just put a price on it, the market will react in a sensible way.’


Basically, Musk is saying that because there’s no market incentives or monetary consequences for companies which release greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, a tax is needed to make them change their ways.

Elon Musk JRE 2PowerfulJRE/YouTube

Musk also suggested that consumers should the ones to pay the tax – which would non-regressive and levied at the point of consumption – with rebates offered to those on lower incomes. ‘That’s the way to do it. This is obviously a thing that should happen,’ he said.

He continued: ‘If we just put a price on [carbon emissions], the market will react in a sensible way. But because we don’t have a price on it, it is behaving badly.’


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When the Biden administration turned Musk away, he recalled thinking: ‘That’s at least half the reason you go elected, so why don’t you just fight for that?’

Musk was careful to note he isn’t ‘in favour of demonising the oil and gas industry’, saying: ‘We’re gonna need to burn fossil fuels for a long time. The question is just at what rate do we move to a sustainable energy future?’

Elon MuskPA Images

He added: ‘Honestly the smartest thing the oil and gas industry could do is say… let’s do a carbon tax. We’ll just do a carbon tax, and it will make us not the devil.’

Commenting on the duty of Tesla to help progress the world’s renewable energy usage, Musk said: ‘It’s either we have sustainable energy or civilisation collapses. And so if civilisation doesn’t collapse we will have sustainable energy, it’s just a question of how soon does that happen. Sooner is better.’

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Cameron Frew

After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BJTC-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He's now left his Scottish homelands and taken up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.

Topics: News, Elon Musk, Joe Biden, joe rogan, Now, US