Here’s How Conservatives Can Be Convinced to Blame Big Oil for Climate Change

What is it that a Republican needs to believe to convince them that oil and gas companies lied to them about climate change, and are responsible for contributing to it.

Some were convinced by just a few sentences.

That’s according to a new poll commissioned by VICE NewsThe Guardian Covering Climate Now reveals that conservatives were more likely than others to blame the oil and gas industry for climate change, after learning that they had been aware of the issue as far back as 1977.

Overall, Republicans are far less likely to “strongly agree” (14.9 percent) that “climate change is happening now” than Democrats (70.6 percent). Republicans are also far less likely to “strongly agree” (9.8 percent) that climate change has led to “increased heat waves, droughts, wildfires, storms, and other extreme weather events in recent years” than Democrats (66.5 percent).

Republicans are less likely to hold corporations accountable for contributing to man-made global warming than Democrats. For example, just 19.6 percent of Republicans polled said oil and gas companies were “completely responsible” for the climate crisis (while 60.2 percent of Democrats hold that view), and a majority say global warming was “caused by natural changes in the environment.”

<i>VICE News/Guardian/Covering Climate Now</i>/YouGov Climate Crimes poll, October 7-13, 2021 - <a href="data:application/octet-stream;charset=utf-8,%EF%BB%BFX.1%2CTotal%2CDemocrat%2CRepublican%2CIndependent%0Acaused%20mostly%20by%20human%20activities%2C55%2C79.6%2C24.5%2C50%0Acaused%20mostly%20by%20natural%20changes%20in%20the%20environment%2C31.6%2C17.2%2C55.4%2C33%0Aother%2C5.1%2C2.3%2C6%2C6.3%0Anone%20of%20the%20above%20because%20global%20warming%20isn't%20happening%2C8.3%2C0.9%2C14.2%2C10.7">Get the Data</a> - Created with <a href="">Datawrapper</a>
Source: VICE News/Guardian/Covering Climate Now/YouGov Climate Crimes poll, October 7-13, 2021 – Get the Data – Created with Datawrapper

After being informed of the findings, however, they change their minds. a 2015 Inside Climate News investigation that showed the world’s largest oil and gas company has known for decades that the burning of fossil fuels caused man-made climate change but did not publicly acknowledge it:

According to a recent investigation, Exxon was aware that climate change existed as early as 1977. That’s 11 years before it became an issue in the public eye. InsideClimate News. This knowledge did not prevent the company (now ExxonMobil and the world’s largest oil and gas company) from spending decades refusing to publicly acknowledge climate change and even promoting climate misinformation—an approach many have likened to the lies spread by the tobacco industry regarding the health risks of smoking. Both industries were conscious that their products wouldn’t stay profitable once the world understood the risks, so much so that they used the same consultants to develop strategies on how to communicate with the public.

Participants from all political parties were more likely to believe that oil companies knew about climate change and contributed to it after being exposed to the information. This includes Republicans: While 27.8 percent of Republican respondents initially said that oil and gas companies were “completely” or “mostly” responsible for climate change, that number rose to 36.5 percent after they read the excerpt.

Source: VICE News/Guardian/Covering Climate Now/YouGov Climate Crimes poll, October 7-13, 2021 - Created with Datawrapper
Source: VICE News/Guardian/Covering Climate Now/YouGov Climate Crimes poll, October 7-13, 2021 – Created with Datawrapper

While 38.4% of Republicans believed that oil and natural gas companies lied in order to suppress public awareness about climate change, 48.6% said the same thing after reading the excerpt.

The same time, it is important to learn about the Inside Climate News investigation, the number of Republicans who responded “climate change does not exist” actually rose slightly, from 14.7 percent to 18.0 percent.

The poll revealed that more than half of those surveyed believed the following excerpt: Oil and gas companies lied about their knowledge and contribution to climate change.

The poll shows that even though Americans’ views of climate change are hardened by their politics, education levels, or their media consumption habits, they can be persuaded if they’re provided with compelling evidence.

The poll included 1,000 Americans between the ages of 7 and 13 years old. The results of the survey are now available as 26th United Nations Climate Change ConferenceNext week, COP26 (also known as COP26) will be held in Glasgow.

Although more people are becoming aware about climate change and its causes than ever before, there are few prospects of taking meaningful action to save the climate.

Congressional Democrats continue to hash out the details of a multi-trillion infrastructure plan, and already the centerpiece climate provision of that plan — the Clean Electricity Performance Program (CEPP), which would incentivize companies to transition to renewable energy — is likely to be cut due to opposition from West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, The New York Times reported last week.

Manchin, who filmed an advertisement depicting him shooting a bullet through a Democratic cap-and-trade billIn 2010, he had been supporting and being supported by energy companies for many years. Over the past decade, he has received more than $64,000 in lobbyists, political actions committees and lobbying firms that are connected to Exxon. Grist reported in July. Manchin also made nearly $500,000 in 2020Because of his non-public shares with West Virginia-based coal firm Enersystems.

This summer, Channel 4 in the U.K. published a recording showing a senior Exxon lobbyist bragging, “Joe Manchin, I talk to his office every week.” In September, when asked if he had weekly meetings with Exxon, Manchin responded, “Absolutely not.”