The suspense is over. The AP is reporting that California Governor Gavin Newsom said on Sunday that he “plans to sign into law a pair of climate-focused bills intended to force major corporations to be more transparent about greenhouse gas emissions and the financial risks stemming from global warming.” Those bills are Senate Bill 253, the Climate Corporate Data Accountability Act,  and SB261Greenhouse gases: climate-related financial risk. SB 253 would mandate disclosure of GHG emissions data—Scopes 1, 2 and 3—by all U.S. business entities (public or private) with total annual revenues in excess of a billion dollars that “do business in California.” SB 253 has been estimated to apply to about 5,300 companies. SB 261, with a lower reporting threshold of total annual revenues in excess of $500 million, would require subject companies to prepare reports disclosing their climate-related financial risk, in accordance with TCFD framework, and describing their measures adopted to reduce and adapt to that risk.  SB 261 has been estimated to apply to over 10,000 companies. For more information about these two bills, see this PubCo post.

In that post, I had reported Newsom’s mystifying silence on the topic of his potential signature, which was probably giving some supporters the heebie-jeebies. According to the NYT, historically, Newsom “has championed aggressive new climate measures,” but, on SB 253, he had been “uncharacteristically quiet,” perhaps given that his “administration’s finance department issued an analysis in July that opposed the emissions reporting legislation.” But apparently, the cliffhanger has been resolved. The NYT reports that, at a Climate Week event at the Times Center on Sunday, Newsom responded to a question about whether he would sign, “first by detailing California’s history of vanguard climate policies, including his own administration’s requirement that every new car in the state be all-electric by 2035. ‘Would I cede that leadership by having a response that is anything but, Of course I will sign that bill?’ he said in response to a question from David Gelles, a New York Times reporter who interviewed the governor before an audience. ‘No, I will not.’ Mr. Newsom said that his signature came with ‘a modest caveat’ that his office wanted ‘some cleanup on some little language’ in the legislation.” 

Posted by Cydney Posner