Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Talks Tesla, Electric Big Rigs and the Impending Death of Fossil Fuels

(EnviroNews DC News Bureau) — Park City, Utah — In the view of environmental advocate and Waterkeeper Alliance President Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., the oil industry is trying to hold back the future.

“The only way they can maintain market dominance is by controlling our political system, because the markets have left them,” Kennedy told EnviroNews Editor-in-Chief Emerson Urry during a lengthy on-camera interview in Park City, Utah on June 8, 2017, at the Waterkeeper Alliance International Conference.

The economics are spelled out in a report from Carbon Tracker and the Principles for Responsible Investment released June 21, 2017. Five of the world’s six largest oil companies stand to lose $2.3 trillion on oil and gas projects that will not be needed if Paris climate targets are reached. Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell could each waste more than one third of their exploration and production investment dollars by 2025.

The transition to a new energy economy is already underway. In 2016, solar and wind added 362,000 U.S. jobs, with global employment in these sectors now totaling 9.8 million. “Renewable energy sources are set to represent almost three quarters of the $10.2 trillion the world will invest in new power generating technology until 2040, thanks to rapidly falling costs for solar and wind power, and a growing role for batteries, including electric vehicle batteries, in balancing supply and demand,” states the Bloomberg New Energy Outlook 2017 report.

“You have 21 companies making electric cars,” said Kennedy. “The competition is going to drive those prices down the same way they drove computer prices down.” Kennedy mentioned that he had seen for himself a Toyota hydrogen fuel cell-powered 18-wheeler out-accelerate a diesel semi, and noted that Tesla is working on a battery-electric big rig. Bloomberg New Energy Finance expects electric cars to reach price parity with internal combustion engine vehicles by 2025.

Electric vehicles, though still small in number, are already putting a dent in gasoline consumption. By the end of 2017, EVs will displace 28,400 barrels of fuel per day, or more than 10 million barrels annually. That’s frightening to an industry that maintains a business model centered on digging up, refining and selling fossil fuels.

It’s also frightening to people whose jobs depend on that industry and to the many levels of government that derive revenue from the oil economy. “We have $23 trillion of oil infrastructure in this country right now and the barriers against walking away from that infrastructure are enormous,” Kennedy added.

It’s not that the oil majors aren’t hedging their bets. Shell is investing in offshore wind. Exxon Mobil, working with researchers from Synthetic Genomics Inc., is using cell engineering to advance the possibility of harnessing algae as a biofuel, while France’s Total has invested in solar panels and energy storage.

But with an administration in the White House “almost completely staffed by oil men,” as Kennedy said, the industry is going all in on exploration, drilling and building. Trump’s rapid approvals for the Dakota Access Pipeline and Keystone XL Pipeline have waved the green flag for pipeline builders. Forbes reports that $50 billion worth of new pipeline projects is awaiting approval, while construction on four started in May.

“That’s what their strategy is: build as many miles of pipeline as possible,” explained Kennedy. “And what the industry is trying to do is to increase that level of infrastructure investment so our country won’t be able to walk away from it.”

WATCH OTHER SEGMENTS FROM THE ENVIRONEWS EXCLUSIVE WITH ROBERT F. KENNEDY JR.

Robert Kennedy Jr: ‘Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) Are Destroying Democracy’

(EnviroNews DC News Bureau) Park City, Utah – Legendary environmental activist and attorney Robert F. Kennedy Jr. sat down on camera with EnviroNews Editor-in-Chief Emerson Urry in an exclusive interview at the Waterkeeper Alliance International Conference in Park City, Utah, on June 8, 2017. Amongst an array of…

Robert F. Kennedy Jr.: ‘I love James Hansen, but he is wrong on [the nuclear power issue]’

(EnviroNews DC News Bureau) – Park City, Utah – Is nuclear power the answer to global warming? Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. doesn’t think so. In this interview with EnviroNews editor-in-chief Emerson Urry, the well-known environmental activist explains his position on the contentious issue. “I’m all for nuke if…

‘An Act of War’: RFK Jr. Puts U.S. Military and CAFOs on Blast for Trashing America’s Waterways

(EnviroNews DC News Bureau) – Park City, Utah – “If a foreign government contaminated our country like the Department of Defense has, it would be considered an act of war.” Those were the words from distinguished environmental activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr., in an interview with EnviroNews Editor-in-Chief…

Waterkeeper Alliance: How a Movement Was Born – as Recalled by Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

(EnviroNews DC News Bureau) – Park City, Utah – When Robert “Bobby” Kennedy, Jr. was eight years old, he had already banked many memories of outdoor family outings, including kayaking and fishing with his father Bobby Kennedy, in turn developing a love for nature in a vigorous and…

America’s Mercury Crisis: ‘Fish consumption is dangerous now’ – Robert Kennedy Jr. Weighs in

(EnviroNews DC News Bureau) – Park City, Utah – On June 8, 2017, at the Waterkeeper Alliance International Conference in Park City, Utah, EnviroNews Editor-in-Chief Emerson Urry sat down with legendary environmental activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to discuss an array of water-related topics, including mercury poisoning. Kennedy…

RFK Jr.: ‘[Waterkeeper is] filing barrages of suits to stop the dismantling of the Clean Water Act’

(EnviroNews DC News Bureau) – Park City, Utah – Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., President of Waterkeeper Alliance (the Alliance), sat down with EnviroNews Editor-in-Chief Emerson Urry to discuss the organization’s response to the Trump Administration, which has been active in upending environmental regulations. The interview took place June…

RELATED:

Inside Look: Waterkeeper: Patrolling 2.5m Sq-Miles of Watershed, Catching Polluters, Saving H2O

(EnviroNews Utah) – Marc Yaggi, Executive Director for Waterkeeper Alliance, sat down on June 8, 2017, with EnviroNews Utah reporter Michael Orton in Park City, Utah to discuss the organization’s purpose. “Waterkeeper Alliance is an international movement uniting more than 320 locally-based clean water advocacy organizations and focusing…

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Talks Tesla, Electric Big Rigs and the Impending Death of Fossil Fuels