Yale University Project on Climate Change Communication survey. The survey shows that on most issues concerning energy and the environment the Republican Party is out of step with what the American public supports.
About 79% of Americans would like to see more funding for research on renewable energy, 76% would like to see tax rebates for efficient cars & solar panels, 75% want CO2 regulated as a pollutant, 63% would require utilities to produce 20% clean energy, 65% want the U.S. to sign an international treaty to cut emissions, and 58% are against building more nuclear plants. Those positions are all in opposition to Republican energy policy.
The survey also showed that only 17% of the public has bought into the Republican lie that protecting the environment hurts economic growth and causes unemployment. A full 58% of the public knows that protecting the environment actually improves economic growth and creates new jobs. The Republicans may not want corporate polluters to clean up their act, but the American people do.
But the survey also showed there are a couple of areas where the Republican propaganda seems to be working. One is in expanding drilling in the Gulf of Mexico -- which 62% of the public would support. Too many people believe that the high price of gasoline is connected to the amount of drilling done in the Gulf -- which is not true at all. More education is needed to convince the public of the truth -- that the high gas prices are due to Wall Street oil speculators and Big Oil companies reducing the amount of gas refined.
The Big Oil companies (especially BP) have also been very successful in covering up the serious and continuing environmental damage to the Gulf by drilling and oil spills (eyeless shrimp, fish with numerous large lesions, etc.). The sad part is that the environmental damage will most likely stretch far into the future.
The second area where the public seems to be misguided is on the huge subsidies given to the oil companies by the government. About 54% of the public says they are against eliminating all energy subsidies. Considering the giant oil and gas companies and energy producers are making record profits, those subsidies are no longer needed (especially when federal deficits are so large).
Perhaps the following facts can change some impressions about the "poor" oil companies. Chevron made about $6.5 billion in profits in just the first three months of 2012 (that's $71 million in profit every single day -- after all expenses have been subtracted). ExxonMobil did even better by posting a first quarter profit of $9.45 billion (about $104 million in profit for every single day). Here are some other facts about these companies: