California has set a new precedent in the fight against climate change with a groundbreaking law that requires large companies operating in the state to disclose their carbon emissions. This measure, signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom, is the first of its kind in the nation and serves as a blueprint for future climate accountability regulations around the country.
Under Senate Bill 253, which targets public and private companies with annual revenues over $1 billion, California regulators must establish rules by 2025 that mandate companies to publicly disclose their carbon emissions and electricity usage by 2026. Additionally, by 2027, these companies will be required to report emissions generated by their supply chains and customers, known as “scope 3” emissions, which have been a subject of controversy among business interests, especially in the fossil fuel industry.
This law is complemented by another bill, Senate Bill 261, which applies to businesses with annual revenues exceeding $500 million. These companies will need to disclose their climate-related financial risks starting in 2026 or face penalties.
By making this data public, California aims to bring transparency and accountability to the biggest contributors to climate change, especially within the oil industry. The new regulations will make it more challenging for companies to engage in greenwashing and will provide valuable information for investors, consumers, and the general public.
Q: How many companies are affected by this law?
A: Approximately 5,300 corporations in California, including major global companies such as Chevron, Wells Fargo, Amazon, and Apple, will be subject to these regulations.
Q: What are scope 3 emissions?
A: Scope 3 emissions refer to greenhouse gas emissions that occur in the production and use of a company’s products and services, including emissions from their supply chains and customers.
Q: What are the potential benefits of this law?
A: Supporters argue that this law will bring greater transparency to corporate emissions, hold companies accountable for their environmental impact, and encourage more sustainable practices. It also sets a precedent for other states and countries to follow in implementing similar regulations.
Q: Are there concerns about the implementation of the law?
A: While the law has been praised for its ambition, there are concerns about its implementation deadlines and the costs it may impose on businesses. Governor Newsom has expressed reservations about these issues, and it remains to be seen if there will be adjustments to the law in the future.
Q: How does this law compare to federal regulations?
A: The introduction of this law in California highlights the lack of progress at the federal level in implementing similar carbon emissions disclosure regulations. However, there are ongoing efforts at the national level, including the Security and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) proposed federal mandate for public companies to disclose their emissions and climate-related risks.