The California Legislature took a step last week that has the potential to accelerate the fight against climate change within the state and have a transformative effect across the nation. It also marked the rise of a more forceful climate caucus in the legislature, led by new Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas, bucking an intense industry lobbying push that killed a similar bill last year.
Senate Bill 253, which would force companies that generate revenues of more than $1 billion a year to fully disclose their total greenhouse gas impact, cleared the Capitol’s lower house on a 49-20 vote. The state Senate, which had already approved the measure, concurred on a few minor amendments, and the bill now goes to Gov. Gavin Newsom, who has until Oct. 14 to sign it. (Editor’s note: Newsom announced Sept. 17 that he plans to sign the bill.)
If he does, and Newsom’s past record suggests that he will, California will essentially establish a national policy that compels big business to be transparent about its emissions, according to at least one analyst.
“I think this is a really big deal,” said Lynn M. LoPucki, a professor at the University of Florida law school, noting that the Securities and Exchange Commission has been working on its own corporate disclosure rule for years to no avail. [Continue reading…]