Blog Post

10 Reasons to Vote No on Prop 23

Stay on Top of Enterprise Technology Trends

Get updates impacting your industry from our GigaOm Research Community
Join the Community!

Folks, it’s election day today and as many of you know, a major piece of legislation could very well determine the fate of the greentech industry in California: Prop 23. If passed, the item on the ballot would suspend the state’s AB 32 law (the Global Warming Solutions Act), which has stimulated greentech jobs and investment in California over the past several years.

Prop 23 is backed by a couple of massive oil companies — Valero and Tesoro — so don’t be fooled by the “pro-jobs” rhetoric of Prop 23. Already the threat of Prop 23 passing seems like it has had a cooling effect on greentech investing in California. According to figures from Ernst & Young out this morning, greentech VC investment in California in the third quarter of 2010 fell 71 percent to $295 million from the third quarter of 2009, and the number of deals in that time fell by 44 percent.

Here’s 10 reasons why you should vote no on Prop 23:

1. Follow the Leader(s). The majority of the thought leaders in Silicon Valley, the green technology industry, environmentalists and greentech investors are rallying behind “no on Prop 23” campaigns. We’ve posted guest columnists from Applied Materials (s AMAT) CEO Mike Splinter and VantagePoint Venture Partner’s Alan Salzman, while political and industry heavyweights from President Obama, Bill Gates, Al Gore, Vinod Khosla and Google’s Bill Weihl have landed solidly in the “no” camp.

2. Investors Need Policy Certainty. A yes on Prop 23 would lead to uncertainty for all those investors, companies, and municipalities that have been investing in reducing carbon emissions and cutting energy consumption. While greentech investments have been down dramatically this year, expect if Prop 23 passes, it’ll drop even more. In the same way that a lack of agreement in Copenhagen led to less global greentech business, the same will happen on the state level.

3. How California Goes . . . the rest of the country will follow, or so they say. With policies for climate change, green cars and clean power, California has been leading the way for the rest of the U.S. With the suspension of AB32, California would be giving the signal to other state policy makers that this landmark bill isn’t working.

4. Be in the Majority. According to the latest polls from the Public Policy Institute of California, while 43 percent of voters supported Prop 23 in September, only 37 percent supported Prop 23 in October. Yep, the “no campaign” seems to be working.

5. AB 32’s Stimulating Effect. AB 32, which passed in 2006, has been “the single largest source of job creation in California in the last two years,” according to investor Vinod Khosla. Khosla also explained AB 32 as a little like a 401K, where you put aside a little bit month by month, but over time you save a whole lot. “It’s an investment in our future.” According to the Small Business Majority, AB 32 will add $4.6 billion in revenues by 2020, and more than 15,000 jobs.

6. China’s Edge. Investors like Kleiner Perkin’s John Doerr, and pundits like Thom Friedman have recently emphasized the massive effort by China to build the next generation of green technologies, entrepreneurs and industries. With the repeal of AB 32, California would likely lose its top slot for stimulating green tech investments. What’s next? China dominates.

7. Undercover Texas Oil Companies. Californians didn’t buy the PG&E-backed Prop 16, and there’s good indication that they won’t buy the Texas oil company-backed Prop 23. With the Internet, media transparency and the blogosphere, are the days of large corporate-backed policies over? Probably not, but they’re gettin’ better.

8. Bad for Farmers in the Long Term. California produces half of the fruits and vegetables in the U.S. and 400,000 jobs. As Triple Pundit points out, climate change and severe weather could one day lead to massive crop damage.

9. Kochtopus. The big oil companies aren’t the only ones backing Prop 23; a subsidiary of the Koch brother’s Koch Industries, called Flint Hills Resources, has contributed $1 million. As this New Yorker article points out, Charles and David Koch have poured more than a hundred million dollars into dozens of seemingly independent organizations that have funded climate change denial.

10. AB 32 By the Numbers. While AB 32 is still being carefully crafted, AB 32 has been the catalyst for the creation of more than 500,000 jobs and 12,000 businesses which have attracted more than $10 billion in venture capital — five times more than any other state.

For more research check out GigaOM Pro (subscription required):

Image courtesy of Just Being Myself.

7 Responses to “10 Reasons to Vote No on Prop 23”

  1. Well it passed – hopefully those polar bears pictured that live in California will now survive. I know that a lot of families and small businesses will be surviving in other states since green jobs don’t really exist….they classify a bicycle mechanic a green job!

  2. I’m glad I am not paying for your stupidity and putting money in the pockets of those who invent these schemes like global warming. Yet, you want other states to help California since you are dumb and broke. Congratulations on the new job losses.

  3. I would counter this essay with one of mine: AB – 32 some myths and some truths”. Therein I list and discuss 11 reasons to vote yes on Proposition 23. Additional pro-Prop 23 essays can also be found at my blogsite:
    1. AB32 and Proposition 23 – the snowball analogy
    2. The Global Warming Lie
    3. California, broke, cutting schools and welfare, but still spending wildy on the carbon hoax.
    4. AB 32 is a fraud
    Check these out at

    By the way, Prop. 23 is a grassroots effort to stop the AB 32 foolishness. The oil companies helped out getting signatures. The enviro-fleecers have outspent the Pro-23 faction by over 3.3 to 1. Proposition 23 is supported by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and a number of small business associations, as well as a lot of guys like me with no oar in the water other than wanting to save the state and our families from the financial and socio-economic disaster that AB 332 will otherwise cause.

  4. Blake Lewis


    first of all nice job advertising for your blog and previous posts, however I dont understand the relevance of your post. I think you are trying to justify AB 32 which has already been passed. what I dont understand is that you or your krugman you tube video make no mention of the actual issue at hand. please clarify if you will. I would love to hear what you have to say about the effects of prop 23 if passed.

  5. I happen to be a firm believer that the opinions of the brightest people on the planet matter a great deal more than the opinions of others. As a matter of fact, I’ve been on somewhat of a quest for “Opinions that Matter” for quite some time and in doing so learned that all roads to the best and brightest lead to science academies and ultra-high-IQ societies.

    Here’s an example from the “science academy” part of the equation:

    The Swedish Academy is one of the Royal Academies of Sweden, which include three major science academies. Sweden’s Royal Academies were founded more than two centuries ago by King Gustav III who, in his infinite wisdom, granted Royal Charters; the purpose of which was to promote science, culture, and the arts in Sweden.

    Given such a history, it’s not at all surprising that 224 years later the seeds that King Gustav planted have become Giant Sequoia’s and Sweden is now one of the world’s most prosperous nations, currently ranking 3rd overall on the Legatum Prosperity Index right behind Finland (#1) and Switzerland (#2).

    By the way, Canada is ranked 7th and the United States is ranked 9th.

    I wrote about it in a previous post.

    Read: The Legatum Prosperity Index

    Sweden’s Royal Academies are without a doubt the most influential scientific and literary bodies in the world. For instance, one of the many scholarly things they do is decide who gets Nobel Prizes.

    The Nobel Prizes are five annual international awards presented to people in recognition of cultural and scientific advances. They were established in 1895 by the Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel, the scientist made famous for inventing dynamite.

    The Nobel Peace Prize is probably the most well-known of the Nobel Prizes. However, it also happens to be the only one of the five prizes not awarded by a Swedish organization. That task is handled by the Norwegian Nobel Committee. The Chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee presents the Nobel Peace Prize in the presence of the King of Norway on December 10th every year (the anniversary of Alfred Nobel’s death).

    The other Nobel Prizes are presented in Stockholm, the capital and largest city in Sweden. Incidentally, Stockholm is known for its beauty, its buildings and architecture.
    It’s also recognized for its abundant clean water and gorgeous parks, which is inspiring given that the city is 760 years old, or about 5 times older than Canada and 3 times older than the United States.

    The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awards the Nobel Prizes in Physics, Chemistry, and the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences. The Swedish Academy grants the Nobel Prize in Literature. Each Nobel Prize includes a monetary award, which varies from year to year depending on how much the Nobel Foundation has available to give at the time. In 2009, the award for each category was about $1,400,000. Also, it’s not uncommon for recipients of a Nobel Prize to donate the prize money to some scientific, cultural, or humanitarian cause.

    Make no mistake about it, a Nobel Prize is the most prestigious award in its field, and the prize winners are worthy of great respect.

    Having said all that, the opinion of a Nobel Laureate, especially a winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics, should carry some weight on whether or not “AB32 will have a drastic effect on the California economy”, would you not agree?

    Paul Krugman won that venerated prize just two years ago so, needless to say, he’s up to speed on this subject. In fact, Krugman is so up to speed that he was voted 6th in a 2005 global poll of the world’s top 100 intellectuals.

    Krugman didn’t win the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences on account of some communist conspiracy. He won it because the man has rock solid credentials. He’s written 20 books, including one that you would probably have to buy if your ever decide to study international economics. Furthermore, he’s published over 200 scholarly articles in professional journals and edited volumes. He’s also written more than 750 columns dealing with current economic and political issues for The New York Times.

    He was recently asked in an interview if climate legislation will kill economy.

    You can check out the brief interview (5:21) in its entirety here:

    If you want to know more about what the smartest people on the planet think:

    Read: Talent and Taste

    Read: Opinions that Matter

    Read: The Highest IQ in the World

  6. Blake Lewis

    1. these people all own business or have some stake in existing business so of course they would not support a prop. that will create new businesses and more competition for them.

    2. the greentech industry is doing poorly b/c it is not as profitable.. thats why investor return is poor and only going to get worse. not passing prop 23 will not stop this trend

    3&4. not real reasons a voter should decide so im not even going to address them

    5. the idea is not that AB 32 is not working. it is that AB 32 is hindering the formation of new business. AB 32 will be back in effect after 4Q with 5.5% unemployment. it is cheaper to start up businesses without environmental regs. and then empose them afterwards. its not removing all regulation whatsoever. AB 32 is not stimulating the economy. basic supply and demand tells us that businesses will be created elsewhere under AB32. prop 23 just freezes it long enough to bring businesses back to cali.

    6. news flash… china already has the edge, and that is because like us the do have environmental regs. but unlike us they dont empose those regs until after a business is established. which is what prop.23 aims to do.

    7&9. these people and companies that back prop.23 are intending on creating jobs in california as soon as it is passed. and once unemployment is at 5.5% for 4Q they will be regulated under AB32

    8. farmers will have an easier time growing and setting up new farms under prop 23 it will stimulate farming if anything else

    10. the job creation from AB32 was all initial job creation. AB32 is not creating new jobs like the actual development of business would. at this point AB32 is hindering new entrants to the market who could more cheaply enter a market in mexico and then export products to us. prop. 23 will make it affordable to locate businesses in california.

  7. Earl Richards

    PROP 26 is just as destructive as PROP 23. Prop 26 is a treacherous, Big Oil rip-off, which “passes the buck” from oil corporation, clean-up fees to the taxpayer, which will pay the oil recycling fees, the materials hazards fees and other fees. If you do not understand the ambiguities and the intrigues behind Prop 26, then, vote no. Power to the people. Exxon Mobil, BP and Shell are silent partners in the Prop 26.