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Elon Musk has repeatedly spoken out about the need for a carbon tax. (Tesla via YouTube)

Billionaire brainiac Elon Musk already has a lot on his hands with Tesla, SpaceX and the quest to make humanity a multiplanet species, but now he’s delving other deep subjects, ranging from politics to his top-secret tunnel plan.

First, let’s check in on the politics: Before the election, Musk said he thought Donald Trump was probably “not the right guy” to become president. But after the election, he joined the president’s Strategic and Policy Forum – which met with Trump at the White House this week.

On Tuesday, Musk tweeted his support for Rex Tillerson, the former ExxonMobil CEO whom Trump picked to become secretary of state. Today, Musk explained his thinking via Twitter in an exchange of direct messages with Gizmodo:

“Tillerson obviously did a competent job running Exxon, one of the largest companies in the world. In that role, he was obligated to advance the cause of Exxon and did. In the Sec of State role, he is obligated to advance the cause of the US and I suspect he probably will. Also, he has publicly acknowledged for years that a carbon tax could make sense. There is no better person to push for that to become a reality than Tillerson. This is what matters far more than pipelines or opening oil reserves. The unpriced externality must be priced.”

The idea of instituting a carbon tax is consistent with Tillerson’s views as well as with Musk’s. A little more than a year ago, Musk said taxing carbon emissions was as necessary as paying for garbage collection. He favors a revenue-neutral tax that would provide an incentive to reduce fossil fuel use:

“Start low and increase it until the desired outcome is achieved. This can be offset by a reduction in other taxes, like sales tax, which is quite regressive. This is analogous to taxing cigarettes and alcohol more than fruits and vegetables, which everybody agrees makes sense. We should have higher taxes on the things that science says are probably bad for us than those that are probably good for us.”

It’s not clear how effective Secretary of State Tillerson could be as a point person for domestic climate policy. And it’s not clear whether Trump, who has called concerns over climate change a “hoax,” would ever go for a carbon tax even if Tillerson thinks it’s a great idea. But Musk signaled that he’s going to try working with Trump rather than against him:

“This is something we need to strive for and the more voices of reason that the President hears, the better. Simply attacking him will achieve nothing. Are you aware of a single case where Trump bowed to protests or media attacks? Better that there are open channels of communication.”

Now, about those tunnels….

Last month, Musk said in a series of tweets that he was getting so frustrated with traffic that he was “going to build a tunnel boring machine and just start digging.”

“I am actually going to do this,” he wrote.

Last night, he returned to the subject:

His followers picked up the thread, and Musk responded:

Musk certainly does sound seriously serious, and I can hardly wait to see what he’ll do next month. One thing’s for sure: Like Trump, Musk has mastered the art of whipping up a middle-of-the-night tweetstorm that makes waves.

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