State Watch

Newsom declares intention to sign landmark climate disclosure bill

California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) this weekend announced his intention to sign landmark legislation that would require all major corporations that do business in the Golden State to disclose both direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions.

The Climate Corporate Data Accountability Act, or SB 253, would require the state Air Resources Board to develop and adopt emissions disclosure rules for companies that operate in California and whose annual revenues exceed $1 billion.

“That’s over 5,300 businesses,” Newsom said at a New York City Climate Week opening event, aired on Sacramento Nexstar affiliate Fox40.

“A number of them recently in the last few days came on board, like Apple, to their credit, Salesforce, to their credit,” the governor added.

State Sen. Scott Wiener (D), the San Francisco legislator who introduced the bill, applauded Newsom’s declaration that he would sign the legislation, stressing in a statement that “the planet needs more climate champions like Gavin Newsom.”

“These carbon disclosures are a simple but intensely powerful driver of decarbonization,” Wiener said. 

By gaining “full visibility” into corporate carbon emissions, investors and consumers will gain “tools and incentives to turbocharge their decarbonization efforts,” according to the state senator.

“This legislation will support those companies doing their part to tackle the climate crisis and create accountability for those that aren’t,” Wiener added.

Newsom’s announcement that he would be signing SB 253 came a day after he and California Attorney General Rob Bonta (D) revealed that the state had filed a lawsuit against five big oil companies — whom they accused of “lying about climate change.”

The lawsuit, filed Friday, alleges that oil and gas companies “have known for decades” that fossil fuel dependence could bring about catastrophic weather events, but that “they suppressed that information from the public.”

As far as SB 253 is concerned, the legislation would require corporations to begin reporting certain greenhouse gas emissions data beginning at a yet-to-be-determined date in 2026, according to the bill’s text.

The rules would roll out gradually, mandating annual reports of so-called “Scope 1” and “Scope 2” emissions from the previous fiscal year beginning in 2026 and then “Scope 3” emissions starting in 2027.

The bill defines Scope 1 emissions as all direct emissions originating from sources that the company “owns or directly controls,” including but not limited to fuel combustion.

Scope 2 applies to indirect emissions from consumed electricity, heating or cooling, while Scope 3 refers to those from sources that the company neither owns nor controls, such as purchased goods, business travel, employee commutes and the use of sold products.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has also proposed regulations that would require publicly traded companies to disclose both direct and indirect emissions. But the California bill would reach beyond these requirements — by making the same demands of private corporations.

Tags Gavin Newsom Rob Bonta Scott Wiener