Subscribe to Entrepreneur for $5

Elon Musk Says We Need Oil and Gas for the Moment or 'Civilization Will Crumble'

Elon Musk told a group in Norway that while sustainable energy is vital, the world needs oil and gas in the "short-term."


Elon musk, a self-proclaimed champion of sustainable energy, said in Norway Monday that the world needs oil and gas for the moment "otherwise civilization will crumble," according to Reuters.

Musk was in Stavanger, Norway at the Offshore Northern Shore (ONS). The conference focuses "on the future of the energy industry," according to its website.

His comments come amid an energy crisis in Europe after Russia, a huge supplier of energy to the continent, invaded Ukraine in February.

Musk has promoted himself as a zealot for sustainable energy, particularly through this luxury electric car company, Tesla.

In its 2021 impact report, Tesla claimed its products, from cars to solar panels, helped customers not emit an estimated 8.4 million metric tons of CO2 equivalent, which is a way of referring to greenhouse gasses as a "bundle," per Ecometrica.

Musk is also CEO of a space exploration company, SpaceX. It matches his ethos about dealing with climate change, which he summed up in an interview for Ashlee Vance's 2015 biography Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future.

"If we can solve sustainable energy and be well on our way to becoming a multi-planetary species with a self-sustaining civilization on another planet —to cope with a worst-case scenario happening and extinguishing human consciousness... Then, I think that would be really good," he said, per the book.

Musk apparently told a group at the conference people in the world would still need to look for oil and gas in the meantime, including in Norway.

"Realistically I think we need to use oil and gas in the short term because otherwise, civilization will crumble," he said, per Reuters.

Musk also reportedly emphasized the existential nature of the issue.

"One of the biggest challenges the world has ever faced is the transition to sustainable energy and to a sustainable economy… That will take some decades to complete," he said, per the outlet.

But, others have questioned his record on sustainability, from moments like his private jet taking a nine-minute flight from San Jose to San Francisco, to the carbon emissions of his company's satellites, according to The Conversation.

Entrepreneur Editors' Picks