$415bn investor group joins celebrity-backed ‘no’ campaign to protect California green tech

Asset managers say long-term investment could be jeopardised by Prop 23 vote.

Some of the biggest investment managers in the US – managing $415 billion in assets – have thrown their weight behind a campaign to fight a California state legal review that could halt implementation of its clean energy law, saying it would jeopardize long-term investment in green technology. The investor backing of the ‘No on 23’ movement, referring to the controversial Proposition 23 ballot in two weeks time, follows an increasingly bitter public battle, with support for the ‘no’ camp coming from celebrities including Avatar director James Cameron and Gordon Moore, the co-founder of Intel, who have each donated $1 million to the ‘no on 23’ campaign. Sixty-eight major investors including Deutsche Bank Climate Change Advisors, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, VantagePoint Venture Partners, the National Venture Capital Association, Domini Social Investments and Pax World Management, signed the statement co-ordinated by Ceres, the US environmental investor coalition.They were joined by the BICEP coalition, a Ceres-led group of major corporates including Levi Strauss & Co., Nike and Starbucks. The investor statement said: “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.”
The investors said clean technology had been one of California’s key growth industries, increasing jobs at a rate of 5% from 2007 to 2008. They said $9bn of private capital had 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.