The investor statement says: "We need certainty about the policies that govern the sectors in which we invest so that we can make strategic, profitable investments over the long term. This policy certainty, however, would be eliminated if Proposition 23 passes. It would cause California to lose billions of dollars of investment and thousands of jobs to competitors like China, Japan, Germany, or other U.S. states that have more stable commitments to clean energy policy."
Kevin Parker, global head of Deutsche Asset Management, says the absence of a federal climate change policy makes it even more critical that states build their own frameworks. If Prop. 23 succeeds it could be a signal to other states and the U.S. government to reverse course on climate change policy.
Some investors are already holding off on making investments because of the uncertainty caused by Prop 23. James Watson, a partner at CMEA Capital, told the Washington Post that his venture capital firm "stopped investing in [California] cleantech eight months ago due to this uncertainty."
Environmentally proactive corporations are also working to defeat Prop 23 through BICEP, Business for Innovative Climate & Energy Policy. Member companies include Levi Strauss & Co., Nike and Starbucks. Bill Gates of Microsoft and Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google have also been active.
And yes, President Obama opposes Prop 23. According to White House spokesman Adam Abrams, Obama calls it "a veiled attempt by corporate polluters to block progress towards a clean energy economy. If passed, the initiative would stifle innovation, investment in R&D and cost jobs for the state of California. And the impacts could affect us all. If successful, corporate special interests will set their sights nationwide."
The Plot Thickens with Prop 26, the "Polluter Protection Act"
Recent polls suggest Prop 23 will be defeated. A Public Policy Institute of California poll finds that 48% of likely voters oppose Proposition 23, compared to 37% that support it. 15% were undecided.
That's bad news for Big Oil but they're not giving up. They're pouring millions of dollars into passing Prop 26, the Polluter Protection Act, which would effectively kill AB32 by de-funding it.
Prop 26 would amend the state constitution to require a two-thirds majority - rather than the current simple majority - to enact any regulatory fees by declaring them "taxes." The fees cover all kinds of businesses including tobacco companies, alcohol retailers and industries required to clean up their toxic waste. Polluters know it's pretty impossible to get a two-thirds vote. AB32 would be funded by polluter fees - removing them would cripple AB32 and place the burden of cleaning up their mess on taxpayers.
"Prop. 26 would eviscerate the funding of all air- and water-pollution programs, even oil-spill cleanup," says Warner Chabot, Executive Director of the California League of Conservation Voters.
So while everyone's focused on Prop 23, hardly anyone is talking about Prop 26. Big Oil knows this. Interestingly, the Chamber of Commerce didn't take a stand on Prop 23 because they don't want to call attention to the money they're funneling into passing Prop 26.
If you live in California, remember to VOTE NO on both Prop 23 and Prop 26.
Read Prop 23
See Who's Contributed to Support & Oppose Prop. 23
The California Apollo Program