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© Reuters. Tesla and SpaceX’s CEO Elon Musk speaks, as he attends political festival Atreju organised by Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s Brothers of Italy (Fratelli d’Italia) right-wing party, in Rome, Italy, December 16, 2023. REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane

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ROME (Reuters) – It is important to reduce carbon emissions to preserve the planet, but oil and should not be demonized in the medium-term, Elon Musk, the founder of electric car maker Tesla (NASDAQ:), said on Saturday.

Earlier this week representatives from nearly 200 countries agreed at the COP28 climate summit to begin reducing global consumption of fossil fuels to avert the worst of climate change, signalling the eventual end of the oil age.

“Climate change alarm is exaggerated in the short term,” the U.S. billionaire said, adding that the environmental movement may have gone too far, causing people to lose faith in the future.

Musk said he considers himself an environmentalist and added that it is important that, in the long run, industries reduce the billions of tons of carbon they are taking from the earth and free in the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels.

“We should not demonize oil and gas in the medium term,” he added, speaking in Rome at a gathering of the Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s right-wing political party.

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