Elon Musk has a tendency to take big risks. One of those, especially in light of how it kicked off Uber’s train wreck of a year, is attempting to work with the Trump administration by joining an economic advisory council. But Musk has made it clear that if Trump really does attempt to bail, that will be the last straw.
How did Musk communicate this intent? Tweets, of course:
Musk is spinning this as a principled stand, and it might even be one. But Musk has issued this particular ultimatum at a time when businesses are facing outright rebellion over climate change, and from unexpected quarters. ExxonMobil today found itself forced to analyze the effects of laws keeping climate change to two degree Centigrade, after major financial firms like BlackRock, Vanguard, and State Street spearheaded a push against the board (which essentially wanted to ignore any possible effects of climate change, or legislation to stop it, on Exxon’s business). In other words, company shareholders just forced ExxonMobil to admit climate change is real, and it is a potential long-term financial risk.
And Musk, of course, owns luxury electric automaker Tesla, which is about to introduce its relatively cheap Model 3. Tesla stands to benefit from stricter emissions standards, so if Trump decides he’s going to bail on government commitments, Musk really can’t stick around. Really, the only question worth asking at this point is why he lingered at all.