Does Silicon Valley care more about profit than jobs?

Silicon Valley’s hypocrisy has been highlighted once again by its opposition to a bill that could help lower unemployment by temporarily freezing the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

As Politico’s Darren Samuelsohn points out, Silicon Valley industry heavyweights haven’t exactly been shy about the potential effects of Prop 23 on profit motives – which they fear would harm a range of business ventures, including solar power, electric cars and efficient home lighting.

To be sure, Silicon Valley and its clean-tech investment partners have splashed out more than a third of the $28 million to support Prop. 23’s opponents, alongside stalwart environmentalists and Hollywood moguls like “Avatar” director James Cameron.

For example, Vinod Khosla, former chairman and CEO of Sun Microsystems donated $1.037 million, while former Intel CEO Gordon Moore coughed up a cool $1 million, followed by Wendy Schmidt, wife of Google CEO Eric Schmidt, at a tidy $500,000.

Unsurprisingly, opponents of Prop. 23 claim that an earlier environmental bill – A.B. 32 – represents the best chance of curbing global warming in the state of California.

They also note that A.B. 32 is one of the primary reasons why companies in the sunny state have managed to secure 60 percent of the nation’s clean technology venture capital.

Indeed, AB 32 requires that the state cut greenhouse gas emission to 1990 levels by 2020. Proposition 23, if enacted by voters, would freeze the provisions of AB 32 until California’s unemployment rate drops to 5.5% or below for four consecutive quarters.

But James Duran, chairman of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Silicon Valley, told Politico that A.B. 32. may be doing more harm than good. 

“I’m not disagreeing about global warming. I’m just saying, ‘Show me.’ I don’t see any eBays created in the clean energy space. I don’t see any Googles created in the clean energy space,” said Duran.

“We have a huge representation in the state and a very significant representation when it comes to small business. Many of our businesses suffered in the last three years. Many of us call it a depression. Adding [yet] more costs [and regulations] is not the solution for us.”