"Yes On 23" Ad Misleads About California's Investment In Clean Energy

October 01, 2010 10:27 am ET

When California passed its Global Warming Solutions Act in 2006, it represented a turning point in the debate over clean energy and global warming.  For once, it seemed, economic innovation and environmental stewardship triumphed over Big Oil and corporate greed.  Today, however, those same oil giants are fighting round two by bankrolling the "Yes on 23" campaign in favor of a proposition repealing the Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32).  Not surprisingly, a new "Yes on 23" television ad is full of falsehoods, misrepresentations, and lies.

"Yes On 23" Spreads Clean Energy Falsehoods

I have enough bills. But now the politicians are putting a new energy tax on us to pay for California's global warming plan. Yes on 23 stops the energy tax, preventing a 60% increase in electricity rates and higher gas prices. And saves more than a million jobs. I want to do my part on global warming. All Yes on 23 says is let's wait until people are back to work. [Yes on 23 Ad, 9/28/10]

"Yes On 23" Is Bankrolled By Big Oil

California's Anti-Clean Energy Campaign Is Bankrolled By Oil Giants Valero & Tesoro. As reported by the Los Angeles Times: "California headed for a high-stakes battle over global warming Tuesday, as an oil industry-backed measure to suspend the state's aggressive climate-change law qualified for the November ballot...The measure, launched six months ago by Texas oil giants Valero Energy Inc. and Tesoro Corp., comes as the industry has fallen under intense scrutiny in the wake of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster." The paper added, "Valero, which owns two California refineries, has mounted an aggressive campaign against federal efforts to pass climate legislation, including a House bill that was modeled in part on California's law." [Los Angeles Times, 6/23/10]

Koch Industries Contributed $1 Million To "Yes On 23" Campaign. According to the Los Angeles Times: "A company owned by oil billionaires Charles and David Koch has contributed $1 million to Proposition 23, a November ballot initiative to suspend California's groundbreaking 2006 global-warming law. The contribution came from Flint Hills Resources LP, based in Wichita, Kan., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Koch Industries, the nation's second-largest private company, with estimated annual revenue of $100 billion. It was posted online Thursday by the California secretary of state. Prop. 23 was launched by two Texas-based refiners, Valero Energy Corp. and Tesoro Corp. which have been its primary funders. The involvement of the Koch brothers signals that the California initiative is likely to become the focus of a national campaign, now that climate change legislation has stalled in Congress." [Los Angeles Times, 9/2/10]

Proposition 23's Passage Would Raise Energy Prices, Kill Jobs

California's Private Electricity Costs Will Jump 33% Without Policy To Reduce Greenhouse Gases.  According to Next 10, a California-based think tank: "Between now and 2020, without implementation of GHG policies, private electricity costs in California will be up to $100 per person higher in 2020, which would rise $100 above today's costs in any case, making electricity 33 percent more expensive. Higher energy prices force California enterprises and households to take a dollar away from in-state labor and labor-intensive goods and services and spend that dollar on capital-intensive fuel imports." [Next 10, 10/6/09]

Proposition 23's Passage Would Hurt California's Economy & Destroy 626,000 Jobs.  According to Next 10, a California-based think tank, failing to implement greenhouse gas policies will lead to increases in fossil fuel prices that will lower GSP by over $80 billion and offer 626,000 fewer jobs.

[Next 10, October 2009]

In Reality, California's Clean Energy Law Boosts The Economy

Renewable Energy & Energy Efficiency Will Create 112,000 California Jobs.  According to Next 10, a California-based think tank: "Using price forecasts from the U.S. Department of Energy's Annual

Energy Outlook (AEO), the study estimates that without diversifying California's energy portfolio toward more renewable fuels and energy efficiency, the state risks a loss of over $80 billion in Gross State Product (GSP) and more than a half million jobs by 2020. Implementing 33 percent renewable energy, combined with 1 percent annual improvement in energy efficiency, on the other hand, shields the economy from higher energy prices and yields a growth dividend, increasing GSP by $20 billion and generating 112,000 jobs." [Next 10, 10/6/09]

118 Economists Wrote Letter Arguing AB 32 Will "Stimulate Innovation And Efficiency" And Create Jobs.  According to an open letter signed by 118 economists:

The current recession and the very high unemployment rate in California present daunting challenges. Some have argued that these economic conditions warrant suspending the implementation of emission reduction policies. We disagree. Delaying action now and waiting for the future before initiating accelerated action to reduce global warming gases will be more costly than initiating action now. Acting now is more likely to limit further environmental degradation, lower the cost of mitigation, and spur innovation in renewable energy and conservation technologies.

Furthermore, policies that reduce global warming pollution are likely to provide immediate benefits to the health and welfare of residents by reducing local pollutants. For these reasons we urge continued support for policies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. These policies can improve our energy security, create new business opportunities and more jobs, and provide incentives for innovation. [Union of Concerned Scientists letter, July 2010]