Look, up in the sky!

Ad dicit officiis probatus sed, labores fastidii ad sit, and all that. Elon Musk, of Tesla and the race-to-space fame, says the fossil fuel industry is so 1900, and he has a point. 

From Mideast wars and the “blackening of the Third Pole” — rapid melting of the snow-covered Himalaya-Hindu Kush mountains and Tibetan Plateau, owing to black carbon from nearby power plants — to public protests over the Dakota Access Pipeline in western North Dakota, the fossil fuel industry may be more trouble than it’s worth. Even though, by some estimates, the industry itself is worth $5 trillion.

As some realists have argued, fossil fuel divestment won’t be easy — not for the economy, and not from a technology point-of-view.

Then again, Musk, who has always marched to a different beat, argues that if something is easy, it’s probably not worth doing.

In conversation with Leonardo DiCaprio for National Geographic’s Before the Flood, Musk floats the idea of a universal carbon tax, even though, for many people, tax is a four-letter word.

Carbon tax aside, the future lies in solar power and batteries, he suggests. The past is the past.

After all, goes an old joke, even cannibals relied on fossil fuels at one point in their evolution.