Elon Musk says 'civilisation would crumble' if sourcing oil and gas in the short term suddenly stops

·2-min read

Elon Musk has claimed "civilisation would crumble" if the world stops drilling for gas and oil in the short term - but must continue "accelerating" sustainable sources of energy.

The Tesla chief was taking part in the Offshore Northern Seas conference in Norway on the future of the energy industry, including the role and development of new technologies.

Speaking to reporters, he also said another challenge the world is facing is the birth rate, claiming we must "make more babies" or "we will die with a whimper in adult diapers".

Asked whether we should be using oil and gas, the world's richest person said: "Realistically, we do need to use oil and gas in the short term, otherwise civilisation would crumble.

"For civilisation to continue to function, we do need oil and gas. Especially these days, with the Russia sanctions, we do need to provide oil and gas to keep civilisation running.

"I think any reasonable person would conclude that. While at the same time accelerating the advent of sustainable energy."

Asked if Norway should continue to drill for oil and gas, he said: "I think some additional exploration is warranted at this time.

"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 offshore wind power generation in the North Sea, combined with stationary battery packs, could become a key source of energy. "It could provide a strong, sustainable energy source in winter," he said.

He added one of his "favourite less obvious things to be concerned about" was the world's birth rate.

"It's important that people have enough babies to support civilisation," he said.

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"They say civilisation might die with a bang or with a whimper. If we don't have enough kids, then we will die with a whimper in adult diapers. That would be depressing.

"Make more babies. At least make enough babies to sustain the population."

Musk also said he was aiming to get the Tesla electric car's self-driving technology ready by the end of the year - while he was also "focused on" getting his SpaceX Starship "into orbit".