Backers of Proposition 23, a November ballot initiative to suspend California's global warming regulations, launched a television campaign in Los Angeles on Tuesday with a spot warning of higher electricity costs and job losses if the measure doesn't pass.
The Yes on 23 campaign, funded mainly by oil refiners, had been advertising in other parts of the state but has been off the air for a week.
"We are reloading," said Assemblyman Dan Logue (R- Marysville), a sponsor of the initiative, in confirming the TV buy.
But the purchase of $2 million worth of TV spots in Los Angeles leaves the Yes campaign critically short of funds less than two weeks before the election. It has spent most of the money in its campaign chest, while opponents are airing spots across the state attacking the measure.
Bill Day, a spokesman for Texas-based Valero Energy Corp., which donated $4 million of the $9 million raised by the Yes campaign, said he was unaware of any new contributions planned.
"We don't have all that much money," he said. "Four million was a big commitment."
Any new donations to either side must be reported publicly to the California Secretary of State office within 24 hours of receipt.
Meanwhile, a total of $26.7 million has poured in from wealthy conservationists, national environmental groups and Silicon Valley technology executives to fight the initiative, which is the most closely watched environmental issue on the November ballot in the nation.
California's 2006 Global Warming Solutions Act aims to slash the state's greenhouse gas emissions down to 1990 levels by 2020. Scientists say the gases, which trap heat in the atmosphere, are disrupting Earth's climate.
Proposition 23 would suspend regulations under the law until the state's unemployment rate drops to 5.5% for a full year — a level that has rarely been achieved for that length of time. The jobless rate is now more than 12%.
Proponents of the ballot measure say the climate rules, set to take effect in January, would drive businesses from the state. But Proposition 23 opponents, including Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, say that suspending the global warming regulations would halt California's transition to cleaner energy based on solar and wind power and low-carbon fuels.
In the last week, the No on 23 campaign has received $3 million from the National Wildlife Federation, $1 million from Intel co-founder Gordon Moore and $900,000 from the San-Francisco-based ClimateWorks Foundation.
In Sacramento on Tuesday, a group of 68 major investors who manage $415 billion in assets urged a "no" vote on Proposition 23. The group, which includes such venture capital firms as Silicon Valley's Kleiner Perkins Caufied & Byers and Wall Street investors such as Deutsche Bank's DB Climate Change Advisors, said in a statement that the measure 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."
Logue said the companies fighting the initiative are acting from self-interest.
"Wall Street venture capitalists and Silicon Valley are going to make a fortune from increased energy costs," he said. "Green tech is being forced on California and they are going to invest in it."