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Bill Would Require Transparency on Carbon Emissions from Big Corporations

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Wednesday, January 26, 2022   

A bill to require big corporations to be transparent about their own carbon footprint needs a vote in the California Senate by the legislative deadline on Monday, or it will die.

Senate Bill 260 would require U.S.-based corporations that do business in California and make more than $1 billion a year in revenue to disclose their full greenhouse-gas emissions to the state.

Melissa Romero, legislative affairs manager at California Environmental Voters, said the data is necessary to fight global warming "because we can't really have a serious conversation about reducing carbon emissions without addressing the corporate sector's contributions to pollution - when just 100 companies are responsible for 71% of global industrial emissions."

Senate Bill 260 has long lists of supporters and opponents. The bill doesn't include details of how it would be enforced, and opponents say it would increase the costs for companies that have to comply.

The bill also would require the California Air Resources Board to produce a report that estimates how much these companies would have to reduce their emissions in order to avoid overall global temperature increases over 1.5 degrees Celsius. That's considered the limit to avoid climate catastrophe.

Romero noted that companies would have to release data not only on their energy usage, but about their carbon footprint, up and down the supply chain.

"That is really where the biggest information gap exists," she said, "and also, where a lot of the emissions from large corporations are coming from."

Critics of the bill claim it would discourage big companies from doing business with smaller ones that are unable to meet the greenhouse-gas reporting requirements. California has set a goal to lower greenhouse gas emissions to 40% below 1990 levels by 2030.

Disclosure: California Environmental Voters (EnviroVoters) contributes to our fund for reporting on Civic Engagement, Climate Change/Air Quality, Environment, Environmental Justice. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.


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