CEO of Largest Coal Producer Calls Tesla “A Fraud”
Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) stock has been inching up, courtesy of a couple of tweets that Tesla CEO Elon Musk sent on Sunday. But it seems we are not done yet. Here comes another set of tweets that has created big buzz in the media on Monday.
Tesla was called “a fraud” by Robert Murray in an interview with CNBC. Murray is the CEO of Murray Energy Corporation, the largest private coal miner in the United States, and he hit at Tesla for not turning out a positive cash flow even after receiving $2.0 billion of taxpayers’ money. Murray further asserted that shutting down all coal-fired plants in the U.S. would have no impact on Earth’s temperature at all.
Musk took to Twitter again to fire off a classic reply, saying:
Real fraud going on is denial of climate science. As for “subsidies”, Tesla gets pennies on dollar vs coal. How about we both go to zero?
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 10, 2016
We don’t know what Murray would say to that, but the Twitterati had a great time exchanging their views. And TSLA stock continued its upward march.
Murray’s frustration stems from the fact that the coal industry is going through a major slump and, as all attention now has shifted to the renewables, the coal industry is left to fend for itself. He stated that the government should be committed to support clean coal technology and thereby build a level playing field. (Source: “Musk fires back at coal CEO who called Tesla a ‘fraud’,” CNBC, October 10, 2016.)
Murray is not willing to admit that fossil fuels are worsening Earth’s climate. Even if he is not convinced by the relation between fossil fuels and rising temperatures, there is ample evidence that points to the industry’s negative impact on public health, as well as on the local environment. In May of this year, Musk had warned against the “propaganda of the fossil fuel industry” following a study by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that found that the fossil fuel industry was receiving around $5.0 trillion in government subsidies a year.
Moreover, data from the Energy Information Administration showed that the share of federal funding to renewable fuels in 2013 was about 72% . But still, the mature fossil fuel industry has received over $72.0 billion in subsidies, compared to $29.0 billion that was received by the relatively young renewable energy sector. (Source: “Estimating U.S. Government Subsidies to Energy Sources: 2002-2008,” Environmental Law Institute, last accessed October 10, 2016.)
The coal industry has received billions of dollars in subsidies from the U.S. federal government, and it still could not do enough to invest in green energy and clean technology. This is what could be termed as the “biggest fraud.” As Tesla continues to work for cleaner technologies, TSLA stock is likely to gain from these investments.