(Daily360.com) – California’s progressive Democrat Governor, Gavin Newsom signed a first-of-its-kind climate bill last weekend. SB-253 mandates that regulators in the state create a new set of rules by 2025 for both public and private companies that have revenues in excess of $1 billion. The law will force those businesses to figure out and then disclose their carbon emissions to the state. It’s estimated that this will encompass about 5,300 companies including giants like Amazon, Apple, Wells Fargo and Chevron.
The bill’s mandates expand in the year 2026, when companies will be made to additionally report their carbon usage for day to day operations and electricity use. Then in 2027 it goes even further, as companies will need to account to the government for their emissions levels within their supply chains. The supply chain numbers will couple with customer data to form something they call “scope 3” emissions. The creation of scope 3 has already led to conflict between the state government and fossil fuel and other business interests. Should all companies not be in full compliance with these new, never-before-attempted mandates they will face fines and other penalties.
The sister bill to SB-253 is SB-261 which will require businesses generating in excess of $500 million to report to the government their financial risks related to the climate. SB-261 will take effect in 2026 and will likewise result in financial penalties to the state for non-compliance.
Climate activists like senior policy advisor at advocacy group NextGen, David Weiskopf, praised Newsom and the authors of the bills for their “leadership” and their shared efforts on behalf of climate-related causes. Some business leaders don’t share the same level of enthusiasm, Western States Petroleum Association’s vice-president of strategic communications, Kevin Slagle, said these measures will “do nothing” in relation to carbon reduction.
Although this legislation is the first-of-its-kind, similar measures are currently working their way through the federal government. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is nearing completion on their legislative proposals that would include scope 3 emissions reporting for all publicly traded companies.
Many energy companies located in California tried to fight the legislation with contrasting climate data and research. Those companies were thwarted by tech companies like Ikea, Google, Adobe and Microsoft who praised the legislation and fully supported it. Although, a first of its kind in the U.S., the EU has been mandating climate disclosures from companies since the beginning of this year.
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