Gov. Gavin Newsom on Sunday announced that he will sign the Climate Corporate Data Accountability Act, Senator Scott Wiener’s greenhouse gas emissions disclosure requirement bill.
Newsom made the announcement at the opening ceremony of Climate Week NYC in an interview with New York Times climate reporter David Gelles, in which the governor called himself a leader on climate.
“Would I be giving up that leadership by having an answer other than, ‘Of course I’m going to sign those bills?'” he said.
Wiener’s bill, SB 253, passed the legislature last Tuesday with broad support among Democrats and less so among Republicans. The first bill of its kind will require companies with more than $1 billion in annual revenue to disclose their greenhouse gas emissions starting in 2026.
Wiener, D-San Francisco, said Newsom’s announcement “reaffirms California’s global climate leadership” and called Newsom a “climate champion” in a statement Sunday.
“These carbon disclosures are a simple but intensely powerful driver of decarbonization,” Wiener said in the statement.
“When business leaders, investors, consumers and analysts have full visibility into the carbon emissions of large companies, they have the tools and incentives to turbocharge their decarbonization efforts. This legislation will support those companies who are doing their part to address the climate crisis to address and hold accountable those who are not.”
Newsom also announced that he will sign Senate Bill 261, a bill co-authored by Wiener and introduced by Senator Henry Stern. The bill will require companies with annual revenues above $500 million to submit reports on financial risks associated with climate change.
When the bill was introduced, Wiener cited “the cost of health care, worker safety, raw materials, liability risk and supply chain resilience” as factors affected by the climate crisis.
Newsom also discussed the lawsuit he and California Attorney General Rob Bonta filed Friday against several fossil fuel companies and an oil trading industry group, accusing them of actively misleading consumers about their role in exacerbating the climate crisis.
The 135-page complaint named BP, ConocoPhillips, Chevron, ExxonMobil and Shell, and the American Petroleum Institute.
“For more than 50 years, Big Oil has lied to us — covering up the fact that they have long known how dangerous the fossil fuels they produce are to our planet,” Newsom said in a statement. “Wildfires destroying entire communities, toxic smoke clogging our air, deadly heat waves, record-breaking droughts draining our wells. California taxpayers shouldn’t have to foot the bill.
At the climate conference in New York, Newsom said he had previously been “naive” about what he said was the role of the five corporations in disinformation about climate change.
“I did not know the depths of their deception,” he said.
After the 2022-23 legislative session closed last week, Newsom is expected to sign a slate of bills when he returns from New York, now formally including Wiener’s.
“It’s hard to overstate the significance of this step for climate action,” Wiener said in a tweet on Sunday.
While Newsom made his announcement in New York, hundreds of climate activists demonstrated in Sacramento against fossil fuels.
Protesters spoke in Old Sacramento to call on Newsom and President Joe Biden to halt the approval of oil drilling permits and declare a climate emergency. The protesters then marched across Tower Bridge, where they hung a huge yellow banner reading “Biden-Newsom: End Fossil Fuels.”
This story was originally published September 17, 2023, 2:43 p.m.
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