Gov. Gavin Newsom on Sunday announced that he will sign the Climate Corporate Data Accountability Act, Sen. Scott Wiener’s greenhouse gas emissions disclosure requirement bill.
Newsom made the announcement at Climate Week NYC’s opening ceremony in an interview with New York Times climate reporter David Gelles, in which the governor called himself a leader on climate.
“Would I cede that leadership by having a response other than, ‘Of course I’m going to sign those bills?’” he said.
Wiener’s bill, SB 253, passed through the Legislature last Tuesday with broad support among Democrats and less so among Republicans. The first-of-its-kind bill will require companies with more than $1 billion in annual revenue to make public their greenhouse gas emissions starting in 2026.
Wiener, D-San Francisco, said that Newsom’s announcement “is reaffirming California’s global climate leadership” and called Newsom a “climate champion” in a statement on 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 large corporations’ carbon emissions, they have the tools and incentives to turbocharge their decarbonization efforts. This legislation will support those companies doing their part to tackle the climate crisis and create accountability for those that aren’t.”
Newsom also announced that he’ll sign Senate Bill 261, a bill co-authored by Wiener and introduced by Sen. Henry Stern. The bill will require corporations with annual revenue above $500 million to file reports on financial risks tied to climate change.
When the bill was introduced, Wiener cited “the cost of health care, worker safety, raw materials, liability risk and the resiliency of supply chains” as factors affected by the climate crisis.
Newsom also discussed the lawsuit he and California Attorney General Rob Bonta filed on Friday against several fossil fuel companies and an oil trade industry group, accusing them of actively misleading consumers about their role in worsening 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 been lying to us — covering up the fact that they’ve long known how dangerous the fossil fuels they produce are for our planet,” Newsom said in a statement. “Wildfires wiping out entire communities, toxic smoke clogging our air, deadly heat waves, record-breaking droughts parching 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 five corporations’ role in climate change disinformation.
“I didn’t know the depths of their deception,” he said.
After the close of the 2022-23 legislative session 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 move for climate action,” Wiener said in a tweet on Sunday.
While Newsom made his announcement in New York, hundreds of climate activists in Sacramento demonstrated against fossil fuels.
Protesters spoke in Old Sacramento to call on Newsom and President Joe Biden to stop approvals of oil drilling permits and declare a climate emergency. The demonstrators then marched across Tower Bridge, where they hung an enormous yellow banner that read “Biden-Newsom: End Fossil Fuels.”