I caught an article that said 70% of Americans think we should put a lid on pollution. Kind of late now since the energy bill died. Maybe it died so a much better energy bill could be written with “we the people’s” backing. I started looking around at recent polls and that just might be the case. All is not lost. There are a bunch of polls with a common consensus. A good energy bill would make it to law with citizen’s wide spread approval.
January 22, 2010, Climate Progress reported:
On January 21, a Republican and Democratic pollster released separate polls that found that there is strong bipartisan support to reduce the pollution responsible for global warming.
Despite endless attacks on climate science by Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and other Republican leaders, Luntz [Frank Luntz, Republican pollster], found that 43% of Republicans “definitely” or “probably” believe climate change is caused at least in part by humans.
May 10, 2010, A new poll released by the Clean Energy Works campaign showed:
[There was] overwhelming public support for comprehensive clean energy legislation,” with 61 percent of 2010 voters saying they want to limit pollution, invest in clean energy and make energy companies pay for emitting the carbon that contributes to climate change. A healthy majority — 54 percent — of respondents said they’d be more likely to re-elect a senator who votes for the bill.
The Natural Resources Defense Council, which has been pushing for climate change legislation for years, released its own poll numbers. NRDC’s pollsters found seven in 10 Americans want to see fast-tracked clean energy legislation in the wake of the BP oil spill, and two-thirds say they want to postpone new offshore drilling until the Gulf oil spill is investigated and new safeguards are put in place.
Going back one more day than NRDC, Rasmussen Reports found that even after the Gulf oil spill began dominating the Web, TV newscasts and newspaper front pages, 58 percent of respondents still favor offshore drilling. That’s a big majority but a 14-point drop from the 72 percent who favored offshore drilling [back when president Obama suggested new areas be opened for it].
A poll by Republicans for Environmental Preservation— a quote on their website reads “Nothing is more conservative than conservation” — that showed 52 percent of Republicans and a similar number people who consider themselves conservatives support a U.S. energy policy to boost domestic energy production and cap carbon emissions. Even among Tea Party respondents, who are generally hostile to what they call big government, the poll found more favored the policy — 47 percent — than the 42 percent who opposed it.
June 10, 2010, According to the Grist: “Jon Krosnick’s Political Psychology Research Group at Stanford [poll] results, in sum, are as follows: large majorities believe in climate change and want the government to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, make polluters pay, and support clean energy. The one thing they don’t want? Taxes. The public doesn’t like taxes. They want polluters to pay … but they don’t want taxes.”
July 15, 2010, League of Conservation Voters poll:
Today we released a new poll showing that nearly 7 out of 10 voters want the Senate to act on comprehensive climate and energy legislation.
What this poll demonstrates is that the Senate is doing the right thing in moving to a comprehensive clean energy and climate bill that holds polluters accountable, reduces our dependence on oil, cuts pollution and creates new American jobs,” said LCV President Gene Karpinski. “The opposition has been saying for years that Americans don’t want a comprehensive energy policy, but poll after poll shows the opponents are wrong.
Overall, 60 percent of 2010 voters, and 56 percent of Independents, support a bill “that will limit pollution, invest in domestic energy sources and encourage companies to use and develop clean energy. It would do this in part by charging energy companies for carbon pollution in electricity or fuels like oil.”
- The vast majority of voters believe the federal government should be doing more to hold corporate polluters accountable (67 percent) and invest in more clean energy sources (65 percent).
- Voters reject the opposition’s position that “now is not the time.” Even when pressed with false opposition attacks that this is a “job-killing energy tax”, voters support action:
- When asked, only 36 percent agree with: “We need to ensure that BP pays every last dime of the damages they’ve caused, but beyond that, Senators should focus on getting our economy back on track and creating jobs, not passing some huge new Washington program and job-killing energy tax.”
- Whereas 56 percent agree with: “BP must pay for the damage they’ve done. But our addiction to oil threatens our security and we need more than a band-aid for that. Senators need to pass real reforms to hold polluters accountable and invest in clean American energy.”
- Even in the face of harsh messaging from the opposition, 57 percent of likely 2010 voters support a comprehensive energy bill.
July 19, 2010, “A new poll released by Benenson Strategies Group shows the American people strongly support a comprehensive energy and climate bill that includes provisions encouraging alternative energy production and limits on carbon pollution.”
Even the Brits support pollution caps and energy legislation according to their poll. They still believe in the science of climate change even after Climategate.
The consensus among these polls is evident. Americans feel we need to keep our pollution, especially emissions, under control while we move along to cleaner alternatives and the way to do that is through government regulations for polluting industries. I like what Mayor Bloomberg had to say. No cap and trade. Just issue a penalty to polluters. I say that penalty better be big enough to get their attention (deep pockets).
We need to start somewhere. What I found interesting is that there was a drop in pollution/climate change opinion before the gulf oil leak and after Climategate about the same time the tax commercials ramped up. The energy tax commercials seem to run every commercial break during the news hour on some stations battering people with the belief the oil industry’s penalty will penalize us as the NY Times reported below. Not right. I already dedicated a blog to those lies. A penalty should be suffered/felt not passed along to consumers already paying big oil billion dollar subsidies annually.
April 2, 2010, The NY Times:
The oil and gas industry is funding an advertising campaign aimed at stopping new energy taxes, an effort that comes as it faces both a loss of tax benefits and possible new penalties as part of climate legislation.
The ads target President Obama’s fiscal 2011 budget proposal to eliminate tax breaks for petroleum companies, API said. The Department of Energy said the plan would generate $36.5 billion over the next 10 years. The industry says it would cost companies $80 billion over the same period.
The spots attempt to tie the budget proposal to people’s pocketbooks, said Adele Morris, policy director for climate and energy economics at the Brookings Institution.
‘The purpose with these ads is to make it seem these taxes will be felt by consumers at the pump,’ Morris said. ‘It’s to try to tell a story that energy consumers will be harmed.’
[But] the 15-and 30-second spots refer only to generic “energy industry taxes.’  Analysts and critics of the industry say the ads also could be seen as an attack on a climate bill emerging. 
‘I assumed they were talking about the climate bill,’ Morris said of her initial reaction to the API ads.
May 11, 2010, Check this out according to Texas on the Potomac:
Just last year, the oil and gas industry reported spending $169 million in lobbying expenses — nearly eight times the $21.9 million spent by the environmental movement. BP spent $15.9 million in 2009, ranking second behind ConocoPhillips, according to the nonpartisan watchdog group Center for Responsive Politics.
Among BP’s priorities was the “American Clean Energy Leadership Act of 2009″ that would allow increased leasing in the Gulf and drilling closer to the coast than currently permitted.
Over the past 20 years, the energy industry has pumped more than $500 million into the coffers of candidates and party committees, $334 million in the past decade, with three-fourths of it going to Republicans.
BP political committees and employees have donated more than $3.5 million since 1990. The company often has hedged its political bets: Its top two recipients in 2008, for example, were President Obama ($71,051) and Republican presidential nominee John McCain ($36,649). Its top two House candidates were Houston Republican Rep. John Culberson and his Democratic opponent, alternative energy entrepreneur Michael Skelly.
The contributions weren’t all that much, but hedging? Geez.
So it’s a duck. It looked like a duck. Big oil, and other polluting industries have the money and power to sway things their way, and have been doing it for quite some time. The recent oil spill simply brought it all out of the closet.
That kind of sway works most of the time, but in this instance it looks like the American public still has some street smarts. We know about motivation, but we can also see the growing evidence we’re taxing Mother Earth. It’s got to stop and if we can help, so be it.