Climate

Public support for offshore drilling continues to plummet, despite GOP scare tactics

Overwhelming majority support strong action to cut fossil fuel use, advance clean energy

As we enter the 64th day of the nation’s worst environmental disaster, Americans’ opposition to offshore oil drilling continues to grow.  CAP’s Daniel J. Weiss has the details.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll of adults taken on June 16th, the day after President Obama’s Oval Office energy address, found an 18% swing towards opposition to increased drilling compared to a similar poll taken three wakes ago.   The survey of 534 adults had a margin of error or +/- 4.2%

Conducted 6/16; surveyed 534 adults; margin of error +/- 4.2% (release, 6/18).

How Do You Feel About Increased Drilling For Oil And Natural Gas Offshore In U.S. Waters?

Now May-10 Aug-08 Jul-08 Jun-08
Strongly Favor 26% 27% 52% 46% 48%
Mildly Favor 23% 30% 22% 23% 25%
Mildly Oppose 17% 16% 11% 12% 15%
Strongly Oppose 34% 25% 13% 18% 12%

On Meet the Press on Sunday June 20, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour (R), a former oil industry lobbyist, said that the BP oil disaster is not as bad as the six month offshore deepwater drilling halt.  President Obama called a time out until his bipartisan commission completes his investigation of the BP tragedy.

MR. GREGORY: Right. Well, to the–to that point, Governor, what’s worse, the moratorium or the effects of this spill on the region? And I talk about the moratorium on offshore drilling.

GOV. BARBOUR: Well, the moratorium. The skill–the spill’s a terrible thing, but the moratorium is a, is a terrible thing that’s not only bad for the region, it’s bad for America

Americans strongly disagree with Gov. Barbour.  The CNN poll found strong support for taking a time out from drilling while the investigation is ongoing.

The Federal Gov’t Suspending All New Drilling For Oil In The Gulf And Other Offshore Sites For Six Months

Approve      58%

Disapprove   41

President Obama’s Oval Office speech last week on the BP oil disaster, clean up, compensation, and long term clean energy policies got mixed reviews from pundits.  Yet the CNN poll found overwhelming support for his efforts to make offshore oil drilling safer, develop clean alternative fuels, and reduce the amount of oil used in the U.S.

The Federal Gov’t Increasing The Amount Of Regulation Of The Oil Industry In The U.S.

Approve      68%

Disapprove   31

Based On What You Have Heard Or Read, Do You Favor/Oppose Obama’s Proposals To Develop Alternative Sources Of Energy And Reduce The Amount Of Oil And Other Fossil Fuels That Are Produced And Used In The U.S.?

Favor    72%

Oppose   25

Do You Think That Proposals To Develop Alternative Sources Of Energy And Reduce The Amount Of Oil And Other Fossil Fuels That Are Produced And Used In The U.S. Would Increase/Decrease The Number Of Jobs In The U.S.?

Increase     69%

Decrease     27

No change     2

Do You Think That Proposals To Develop Alternative Sources Of Energy And Reduce The Amount Of Oil And Other Fossil Fuels That Are Produced And Used In The U.S. Would Make Life Better/Worse For The Next Generation Of Americans?

Better       79%

Worse        19

No change     1

An overwhelming proportion of Americans recognize that clean energy and oil use reduction measures would help – not hurt – the economy.  Yet senior Republicans like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (KY)  continues to rely on age old scare tactics that clean energy reform will cause an economic catastrophe:

And now, in the midst of the worst environmental catastrophe in American history, they’re talking about a new national energy tax to achieve their ideological goal of passing global warming legislation.

Americans are pleading with the administration to fix the immediate problem in the Gulf, and the White House want to give us a new national energy tax instead.

Despite his assertion, Senator McConnell is completely out of step with Americans’ views, based on the CNN poll.  But he is in synch with BP and other big oil companies  opposition to action on clean energy reform.   Maybe that’s why they have given him so much campaign cash over the years.

Other senators should ignore Senator McConnell’s fear mongering, and instead side with Americans who want prompt clean energy reform.

— Daniel J. Weiss

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35 Responses to Public support for offshore drilling continues to plummet, despite GOP scare tactics

  1. catman306 says:

    It’s pretty difficult to find many people who are ignorant enough not to notice the elephant that’s been swept under the rug: the Gulf won’t be coming back as a money making, lifestyle creating, food producing, vacation destination, ecosystem any time soon. As a human being I apologize to God and Nature for what my greedy fellow men have done. I’m sorry men created BP.

  2. Chris Dudley says:

    Don’t forget that Obama raise twice as much from oil and gas interests in the last cycle as McConnell did, and they were getting their money’s worth, they still are with continued drilling in the Gulf. McConnell may just feel jealous.

    [JR: Uhh, not really.]

  3. Rabid Doomsayer says:

    Joe do you sleep, It is near a full time job just reading your posts.

    Is it just me or have the Republicans gone completely into looney land? They must be on a different plannet. I do not see how they can so completely deny reality, even political reality.

    Got to agree with catman, the effects are going to be very long lasting.

  4. john atcheson says:

    The startling thing here, to me, is that the poll suggests that 59% of Americans still support offshore drilling. If this didn’t make a majority of Americans against off shore drilling, we’re toast.

    I mean, what will it take?

  5. HELP!

    I recently had my polar cities climate activist files hacked and deleted on my gmail account, the hackers came in and of my 25 files, only attacked my files marked [polar cities] and inside the file was about 3000 emails and news links from top scientists around the world, both pro and con climate change….and all my other 24 files were left untouched! Not only that, the hackers deleted the 3000 emails and links completely, they did not even go to trash where I might find them, they just disppaeared completely and these include emails, none of them toxic, from Times reporters too, Andy Revkin among them, John Tierney and UK scientist James Lovelock, my entire 4 years of work on polar cities deleted by who? I have tried to contact gmail and no response. The gmail forums help but not enough. I know what happened but now i want to know who did it and where those emails are now and was this a black op from FBI KGB MI5 CIA or just the known opposition of the rightwing denialists. Thing is, I am small potatoes, there is nothing, was nothing, in my files worth looking for.

    Since I am am a reporter,…..I aim to track this
    down…..I have top contacts with top editors and reporters at
    NYTimes, AP reuters CNN and BBC and I am to crack this open, but how?
    The info i lost was not important, and nothing was compromised, but

    1. an inconvenience and
    2. a weird feeling of being violated but by WHOM and whY

    3. does this maybe have somethind to do with the Climategate thing in
    UK and somehow the paper trail leads to some of my emails?

    ……what is so weird is that whoever
    came in to my account only came to delete my entire 4 years of polar
    cities
    emails files which include emails from Andy Revkin and James
    Lovelock, but NOTHING compromising, so why?

  6. Delusional Pollyanna positivism blocks them from seeing that the crisis is still unfolding.

    Or, since there is lots more damage to come, this may be deliberate obfuscation or misdirection.

  7. Colorado Bob says:

    Observed event :

    Growing concern in Brazil as number of flood victims increase

    More than 1,000 people are missing in the state of Alagoas; 500 people are unaccounted for in the town of Uniao dos Palmares in Alagoas alone, a state spokesman said.

    According to Brazil’s civil defense agency, more than 40,000 are homeless.

    http://edition.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/americas/06/21/brazil.floods/

  8. prokaryote says:

    I’m surprised about the progress of events lately. Yet beside record breaking reports, there is almost never a connection to the planet climate.

  9. Wonhyo says:

    prokaryote, #8: “Could unbridled climate change lead to human extinction?”

    You ask that question as if human extinction is an unlikely possibility in the face of climate change.

    The article you link almost, but doesn’t quite, suggest humans could become extinct. It talks about “the next great extinction”, but doesn’t explicitly state the human species could become extinct.

    I think we should be honest in our climate change discussions and explicitly consider the (very real) possibility of human extinction as a result of climate change. Warming events in the last 800,000 years only raised CO2 levels to 300 ppm before coming back down. We’ve raised CO2 to 390 ppm in the span of 150 years. At the same time, sustainment of the human species has become more dependent on a stable and moderate climate then ever before in human history.

    When I talk to people who don’t follow climate change like I do, they all hold onto the assumption that “we’ll figure out a way” to deal with climate/energy change, sometime in the future, without taking action now.

    I think the more appropriate question is, “Could unbridled climate action lead to continuation of the human species?”

  10. Wonhyo says:

    Edit to my previous post…

    I must’ve skipped right past the title when I first read the linked article. The title of the linked article explicitly asks if climate change can lead to human extinction. I’m impressed by the editor and writer who came up with that title. That it’s posed as a question, and addressed very obliquely in the body of the article itself tells me there is still a strong element of denial.

    We will know that the media truly understands the seriousness of climate change when we see headlines like, “What Climate/Energy Actions are Required to Guarantee Continuation of the Human Species?”

    My prediction is for a 50% probability of human species extinction by the year 2100, unless there is a deep and fundamental cultural, social, political, and economic mobilization to combat climate and energy change. Actually, setting this prediction 90 years into the future is probably demonstrating my own element of denial. It could happen much sooner.

  11. prokaryote says:

    Wonhyo you are right, it’s just i post a lot of current news and this was just another peace (from another scientist) filed under the topic of humankind’s future perspectives.

    To put it another way (What could happen).

    Human race will be extinct in 100 years, scientist Frank Fenner says, blaming climate change
    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/2010/06/18/2010-06-18_human_race_will_be_extinct_in_100_years_scientist_frank_fenner_says_blaming_clim.html

  12. prokaryote says:

    Or

    How can the human race survive the next hundred years?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2TJlfhZwCMw

  13. Wonhyo says:

    To get back on topic…

    It’s great that public support for offshore drilling is decreasing. Hopefully, we will not allow this crisis to go to waste and pass a strengthened climate/energy bill.

    The title of this post could just as easily have been, “(Some) Public supporrt for offshore drilling remains, despite greatest environmental disaster in U.S. history”. How many environmental disasters will it take to wake people up to the reality?

    It took several decades for non-smoking policies to be implemented in the face of strong scientific conclusions that smoking causes cancer and heart disease. The present pace of climate/energy policy progress is no faster. As I recall, none of the publicly discussed climate/energy proposals would even halt emissions growth until 2020 or 2030. The reality is, we need to be rapidly reversing the elevated CO2 concentration, not just stopping its growth.

  14. prokaryote says:

    If you ask me, i say we can prevent the extinction, but it requires everybody. That means strong carbon negative action (BECCS, Biochar, Reforestation, Preservation etc).

    Still we increase the flow of carbon and not bother acting. If this doesn’t change pretty soon – nations will start failing. Which in turn further fuels emissions, because a failed state will find it pretty impossible to transition to a clean energy future.

    So what are the current elitist plans? Building arks and hide it out for 10.000 years?

  15. Wonhyo says:

    prokaryote #14, “So what are the current elitist plans?”

    It seems to me the elites are each racing to be the one to get the last remaining remnants of wealth and prosperity before civilization ending climate change effects kick in.

    This reminds me of Jared Diamond’s question in “Collapse”: (paraphrasing) “When the guy on Easter Island chopped down the very last tree, what [TF] was he thinking?” I used to think that modern civilization would be too intelligent to succumb to the same fate, but every day that passes without strong climate action chips away at this naively optimistic belief.

    Climate proponents need to learn to fight as aggressively as the climate denialists do.

  16. prokaryote says:

    “When the guy on Easter Island chopped down the very last tree, what [TF] was he thinking?”

    Maybe there was a little forest remaining and a plague destroyed it, because the ecosystem was already weaken – fragile. Or maybe some individual was angry because he could not keep on chopping trees – human nature/behaviorism.

  17. Chris Dudley says:

    Joe in #2,

    Drilling is still going on in the Gulf where prudence would argue that there is nothing left with which to respond to a new spill. Sounds like the oil companies are getting there way to me. I know that McCain raised twice as much from oil and gas as Obama, but hey, it is crazy to open up the Arctic and the East Coast to drilling but that is what the President wanted. Lots of money in this, not so much doing the right thing….

  18. paulm says:

    So now the tide is changing. Not even Lovelock thought that the human race would go extinct – may be a billion people I think he reckoned on.

    Hansen does say that there are reasonable odds that we may trigger the Venus Syndrome…
    http://scienceblogs.com/islandofdoubt/2010/01/james_hansen_says_goodbye_to_s.php

    It really seems like 1-2C+- is the modern day threshold. Things today are different from the last methane pulse, 1) there’s a lot more methane loaded now. 2) the CO2/temp spike is pretty much unprecedented. 3) the suns emitting more energy now than before.

    Odds dont look good. How could they have cut the last tree down? Even if they did save the last tree, how could trees have survived on the island? I fear we have destroyed Eden. Maybe the book of Genesis was the complete summary.

  19. paulm says:

    Is anyone using FF on here. The embedded anchors don’t seem to work anymore – its driving me crazy.

  20. paulm says:

    Oh there was one other major difference which also has a major impact – 4) the deforestation of the planet

  21. Wonhyo says:

    Chris Dudley #17: “Drilling is still going on in the Gulf…”

    This is something that does not get adequately reported in the mainstream media. My understanding is that existing offshore drilling operations are continuing unabated. The moratorium is only on new drilling.

    Right now, we’re fighting over whether or not to lift the moratorium on new offshore drilling.

    What we should be fighting over is how soon to shut down drilling that is already in progress.

    This is like our approach to reducing CO2 emissions. Instead of fighting over how far into net-negative emissions we will get to, we are fighting over how much to slow down our increase in the rate of emissions. We need to fight for stronger actions, sooner.

  22. Acronym List says:

    This is something that does not get adequately reported in the mainstream media. My understanding is that existing offshore drilling operations are continuing unabated. The moratorium is only on new drilling.

  23. prokaryote says:

    Judge to rule on deep-water drilling moratorium

    The plaintiffs, led by marine company Hornbeck Offshore Services, argue that the government overstepped its bounds last month when it announced the moratorium that halted work on 33 deep-water rigs. They also argue that there is nothing to suggest that deep-water drilling “is more dangerous today than it was on the day immediately preceding the tragic incident involving the Deepwater Horizon.”

    http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-oil-spill-20100622,0,1038308.story

  24. talkpc says:

    This is like our approach to reducing CO2 emissions. Instead of fighting over how far into net-negative emissions we will get to, we are fighting over how much to slow down our increase in the rate of emissions. We need to fight for stronger actions, sooner.

  25. website says:

    Maybe there was a little forest remaining and a plague destroyed it, because the ecosystem was already weaken – fragile. Or maybe some individual was angry because he could not keep on chopping trees – human nature/behaviorism.

  26. prokaryote says:

    You must see this droid safely delivered to him on Alderaan. This is our most desperate hour. Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi; you’re my only hope.

  27. Chris Dudley says:

    #22,

    Oil and gas production continue everywhere. Drilling continues at water depths less than 500 feet. However there is nothing available to contain a spill from the drilling that is happening now since it is all being used for the BP spill. So, none of the spill response plans for current drilling have any validity at all and that drilling should be halted until there is a realistic hope of an adequate spill response.

  28. mike roddy says:

    They’re not going to stop existing offshore drilling. There’s too much money in it, and the cash gets thrown around DC like confetti. Reported political contributions are only part of the picture. The drugs, cash, and hookers that were life at the Minerals Management Services were only the tip of the iceberg.

    Many of our Senators are now appearing to show concern about the environment and global warming. In the case of the Republicans, it’s exactly the same as Larry Craig giving speeches about family values during pit stops from his more important visits to airport bathrooms.

    Wonhyo and Prokaryote, a lot of us here are overwhelmed by what the scientific evidence about global warming is likely to be saying. I’m pessimistic too- but we’ve got to fight.

  29. mike roddy says:

    Leland, you’re right about the media, which is pretty much hopeless. The best solution would be for Soros or someone like him to buy or start a media company, which would include a real paper of record, not the rags that the Post and Times have become, and not the pathetic pablum that we see on the nightly TV news.

    Problem is, the big money people- Gates, Buffet, and Koch- are touring the tar sands for investment opportunities. It will take a deep pockets upstart, maybe a Wall Street quant who made a score and accidentally happens to have a real brain as well.

  30. Wit's End says:

    Is a methane eruption possible?

    http://daviddegraw.org/2010/06/will-the-bp-oil-spill-set-off-a-supersonic-%20tsunami/ (link found here: http://survivalacres.com/wordpress/)

    In Requiem for a Species, Clive Hamilton has a very interesting discussion of “cognitive dissonance” wherein denialists or other cult members actually tend to double-down when the fact increasingly disprove their believe system.

  31. john atcheson says:

    Whoops. 49% favor increases — still, that’s a pretty scary figure — once the media moves on, it’ll drop back down. Especially if we focus on making BP th villain. The more we single them out, the less able we are to raise the general issue of oil dependency, the general dangers of off-shore drilling etc.

    Others will point to the BP record of malfeasance and the specific accusations we’re raising and say “Ohm yeah, but that’s BP. We’re different.”

    Let’s get smart and attack the systemic problem, and quit trying to get scalps — we’re once again, setting ourselves up to win the battle, while losing the war.

  32. john atcheson says:

    I really gotta drink coffee BEFORE commenting — I meant, once the media moves on support for drilling will increase, unless we focus on the systemic problem of oil dependency and the difficulty and dangers of deep drilling.

  33. mike roddy says:

    You’re right, John Atcheson. It’s too easy to scapegoat BP, which is very convenient for Exxon, Chevron, and Conoco Phillips. It’s also possible that the eruption didn’t have much to do with the bad design, but was caused by offshore drilling itself, and extreme pressures from seabed methane.

  34. paulm says:

    Good point John A #32.

    Obama are you listening….