68 leading investors issue joint statement opposing proposition 23

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Sixty-eight major investors collectively managing $415 billion in assets today issued a joint statement urging a 'No' vote on Proposition 23, the California ballot initiative that would halt implementation of the state's landmark, bipartisan clean energy law. The signed statement (link below) was unveiled at a news media teleconference at 11 a.m. Pacific Time.

'As investors, 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,' said the statement, issued two weeks before the ballot vote. '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.'

Additionally, the statement's signers said that passage of Proposition 23 'would undermine California's role as a national clean energy leader, and could lead to the rollback of environmental protection mechanisms in other states that look to California as a model for environmental policy - further harming our clean tech industries. This could in turn delay our entire nation's transition to cleaner energy and greater energy independence, all while sending a negative message to the rest of the world about America's leadership in clean energy technologies.'

The signers, including California-based firms Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Catholic Health Care West and VantagePoint Venture Partners (18 California-based firms were among the signatories), said in the statement that passage of Proposition 23 would negatively affect California's economy the following ways - these are quotes from the statement:

  • Job Growth: 'In an extremely difficult economy during which the state has lost 1% of its jobs, clean technology has been one of California's key growth industries, increasing jobs at a rate of 5% from 2007 to 2008. Other studies show that California green jobs have grown 10 times faster than the statewide average.'
  • Private Investment: 'Nine billion dollars have been invested in the development of clean technology in California since enactment of AB32 (the bipartisan clean energy law targeted by Prop. 23) in 2006. Without AB32, billions of dollars in additional investment would be lost to other states and nations.'
  • Energy Price Savings and Stability: 'Through its energy efficiency measures, AB32 lowers electricity costs by lowering energy demand, saving money for consumers and the state of California….AB32 also lowers the price of clean energy by encouraging investments that will increase the clean energy supply. This ensures that we lock in lower prices for fossil fuel alternatives now, keeping energy prices stable over the long-term.'
  • Air Pollution and Public Health: 'Each year, according to the American Lung Association, California’s air pollution contributes to thousands of premature deaths, 9,400 hospitalizations, and more than 300,000 respiratory illnesses for California families. Prop. 23 would lead to increased air pollution and the associated public health risks, as well as the economic costs that go along with them.'

Speaking at the teleconference were Alan Salzman, CEO and managing partner of California-based VantagePoint Venture Partners, Kevin Parker and Bruce Kahn of Deutsche Bank Climate Change Advisers, and Chris Davis, Director of Investor Programs at Ceres and Deputy Director of the Investor Network on Climate Risk - a network of 90 investors, many of them signatories to the statement, focused on the business impacts of climate change.

'The impact Proposition 23 will have on the future of clean technology investing cannot be overstated,' said Salzman. 'If passed, this proposition would seriously impact our clean tech industries and send exactly the wrong message to investors and businesses across the state, the country and the world. A NO vote on Proposition 23 is a vote in favor of our clean-energy future.'

Other signatories to the statement include the National Venture Capital Association, California-based CMEA Capital, Domini Social Investments LLC and Pax World Management LLC.

The full statement is available at: http://www.ceres.org/Document.Doc?id=622

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