The above graphic was composed from the results of a new 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:
13 percent: The tax rate Exxon paid last year, lower than the average American family.
60 percent of its first quarter earnings, or $5.7 billion, on buying back stock. Became world?s largest dividend payer by increasing dividends 21 percent.$1,091,000: Political contributions sent to federal politicians for the 2012 election cycle, making it the largest oil and gas spender.91% of these contributions went to Republicans.More than $52,000,000: Lobbying for the first three years of the Obama presidency, 50 percent more than in the Bush Administration.$34.9 million: Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson?s salary for 2011, a 20 percent raise.$52,300: Political contributions from Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson in the 2012 cycle, alone.
Chevron paid a 19 percent effective federal tax rate in 2011, after making $26.9 billion profit.
Spent 19.2 percent of its Q1 profits buying back stocks ($1.25 billion), which enriches the largest shareholders.Production dropped by nearly 5 percent, from 2.76 million barrels per day in Q1 FY 2011 to 2.63 million barrels in 2012.Chevron CEO John Watson received $25 million compensation last year, a raise of 52 percent. Chevron?s Vice President received a 75 percent increase to $7.8 million.Chevron is sitting on even more cash reserves, $18.9 billion, up from$15.9 billion in January.Has spent more than $500,000 on federal political contributions in the 2012 election cycle. 87 percent of these contributions went to Republicans.Has spent $3.24 million on lobbying in the first few months of 2012, after spending $9.51 million lobbying in 2011. Some of the Chevron PAC?s major recipients for 2012 include House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) ($5,000), House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) ($5,000), Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) ($5,000), Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) ($7,500), Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) ($5,000).
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