California Senator Reignites Corporate Greenhouse Gas Emissions Disclosure Bill
A new bill introduced in the California legislature tees up corporate disclosure legislation that narrowly failed to pass the State Assembly during last year’s term. The bill would impose broad greenhouse gas (GHG) reporting requirements on large businesses doing business in California and could effectively set a national standard for these businesses to report GHG emissions.
During last term, Democratic State Sen. Scott Wiener introduced SB 260 (2021–22), the Climate Corporate Accountability Act. The bill aimed to go further than the proposed rules issued by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in March 2022, but it failed to pass the State Assembly by a single vote. The bill would have required both public and private companies doing business in California and generating over $1 billion in gross annual revenue to disclose their Scope 1, Scope 2, and Scope 3 GHG emissions to the state of California on an annual basis as well as to obtain third-party audits of disclosures.
The bill introduced by Wiener this term, SB 253 (2023–24), is titled the Climate Corporate Data Accountability Act. The bill is similar to last year’s proposed legislation and would likewise require disclosure of Scope 1, Scope 2, and Scope 3 GHG emissions by both public and private companies doing business in California and generating over $1 billion in gross annual revenue. In broadly requiring Scope 3 emissions reporting, the bill again goes further than the SEC’s proposed rules. The press release from State Sen. Wiener’s office describes the bill as “a first-in-the-nation measure to require all large corporations that do business in California to publicly disclose their greenhouse gas (emissions) in line with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, the longstanding gold accounting standard established by the environmental and business communities.”