The looming energy battle between Elon Musk and Donald Trump
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Intelligence and ignorance have never learned how to coexist.

A prime example of this is technology business magnate Elon Musk and our President-elect Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpGillibrand urges opposition to Kavanaugh: Fight for abortion rights 'is now or never' Trump claims tariffs on foreign nations will rescue US steel industry: report Bannon announces pro-Trump movie, operation team ahead of midterms: report MORE. These are two men whose extremely different views about the earth's future will eventually lead them into an unavoidable fight.

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It is highly unlikely that the two will duke it out one-on-one in a ring, but we can definitely expect things to heat up a bit, resulting in strong language, criticism and maybe even a power struggle in the upcoming years.

Musk does not appear to be the one picking a fight. Even before the election, he was very careful not to make any direct candidate endorsements. His most opinionated statement about Trump in the past year has been, “I feel a bit stronger that he is not the right guy.”

The statement, expressing whether or not Trump should become president, was made a few days before the election in an interview where Elon commented on how the electoral outcome would affect Tesla as a company.

In his defense, he attempted to express his general disappointment with the candidate choices by saying, “I don't think this is the finest moment in our democracy,” in the same CNBC interview.

The news outlet might have made it sound like he was saying, “don't vote for Trump,” but those who listened to the recording know that he kept his opinion neutral. The only acknowledgment Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGillibrand urges opposition to Kavanaugh: Fight for abortion rights 'is now or never' Bannon announces pro-Trump movie, operation team ahead of midterms: report Fox News host hits Giuliani: Dossier isn't why Mueller probe was started MORE ever got from Elon was when he agreed with her economy and environmental policies, which probably wasn't even worth mentioning.

This brings us to the narrow-minded “if you are not with us, you are against us” attitude that some Trump supporters have. There have already been provocations by the political action committee (PAC) Citizens for the Republic, which is starting a propaganda against Musk and his businesses.

The PAC, which supports Trump, is very eager to vilify renewable energy and has made a special effort to target businesses that are owned by Musk.

Fake news and propaganda against Tesla Motors, SolarCity and SpaceX are so widely disseminated that they've begun to form clusters like the website Stop Elon From Failing Again. This hateful collection that someone had the audacity to call a “database” contains heaps of nonsensical content of ill-informed or purposely misleading writers.

What it calls opinion are just baseless accusations that Musk’s companies have been living on our government’s back sprinkled with wildly untrue information about renewable energy.

As chief executive officer of an energy consultancy and someone who has worked in the energy sector for a decent portion of my life, it was hard for me to read those concoctions aimed to brainwash our less informed fellow men and women.

How has our President-elect acted in the meantime?

Well, he’s neither supporting nor speaking against the work of Citizens for the Republic. Same as Elon, he seems to be reluctant to meet his opponent head-on and just allows the hatred to simmer.

Musk has already done the math and believes that a Trump presidency will not impede his company’s success and Trump still doesn’t see Musk as any kind of real threat to his presidency. Still, this passive-aggressive bubble is getting bigger and will have to burst sooner or later. How will all of this affect us? Who knows.

Here we have one man in power who doesn’t believe in climate change and another very powerful man who has devoted his life to prevent it from happening. Even though Musk is reacting calmly to the developments, many believe that it’s only a matter of time before he slides into one of his long argument-supported rants.

To Musk, someone speaking against him is probably way more tolerable than someone starting a slur campaign against renewable energy. Negating the effects of greenhouse gases and the importance of clean energy is going against life, or even worse, going against science and progress.

Since Trump is the policymaker, Musk will probably have to throw the first punch in this hypothetical fight. But as a well calculated man, he will not do it before he knows that he can win the battle. Fortunately, there are plenty of allies that can improve his odds.

Though the U.S is more divided than ever, the world has already decided to go renewable. Even countries that have historically been more stubborn to change have already decided to try and fight climate change. Those resisting progress will quickly find themselves on the wrong side of history, so I certainly hope our President-elect wises up.

A fight should always be the last resort and though one seems to be brewing, it should not mean that one needs to happen. Now that Trump has climbed the top, he should be able to see further and gain a better perspective of how things stand.

With a little luck, that will be enough to change his mind. At the very least, it should curb some of his more radical views about renewable energy.

Jacob Bayer is CEO of Luminext Incorporated, an energy consulting firm that specializes in gas, electricity and alternative solutions including solar and wind power.


The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the views of The Hill.