Two critical bills for California and potentially for the rest of the world, are on the verge of being enforced in the state that tighten requirements for large companies to disclose on their emissions and carbon offsets purchasing.
SB 253 and AB 1305 are two transparency bills that require more emissions disclosed information from companies to the public that will also be made available outside of California. SB 253 will require companies with total annual revenues in excess of $1 billion that do business in California to publicly disclose to the emissions reporting organization their scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions, starting in 2026 or 2017.
The bill also requires reporting entities to disclose their greenhouse gas emissions in a manner that is easily understandable and accessible to the residents of the state.
“This would be pretty monumental… There is a movement to say we can’t improve what we don’t measure, full stop,” said Mary Creasman, CEO of California Environmental Voters – an organization sponsoring the legislation.
Bill AB 1305 requires firms that buy or sell carbon offsets to disclose more information about those credits/ offsets including:
- the specific protocol used to estimate emissions reductions or removal benefits.
- the location of the offset project site, the project timeline, and the date when the project started or will start.
- the dates and quantities when a specified quantity of emissions reductions or removals started or will start, or was modified or reversed.
- the type of project and whether the offsets are derived from a carbon removal, an avoided emission or both. In the case where both carbon removals and avoided emissions are delivered, the breakdown of offsets from each is required.
- whether the project meets any standards established by law or by a nonprofit entity.
Further requirements are also outlined. The bill aims to address the issue of worthless and ineffective carbon credits and bogus climate claims.
The legislations are of great importance in promoting more robust climate measures and have momentum in California now. However, the momentum could also be blocked by moderate Democrats historically aligned with corporate interests that are pushing towards delaying the bills in an effort to squeeze out more profits, working against people’s health and interest.
The Western States Petroleum Association is one of the oil and gas organizations opposing the bills and has reportedly spent $2.38 million on lobbying and advocacy groups this year.
Industry opposition continues to be relentless in its old-fashioned agenda of delaying action and desperately trying to save the business-as-usual approach that has been allowing it to emit an astounding amount of greenhouse gas emissions without bearing consequences, thus threatening life on the planet.
“Delay is the new denial… Climate denial won’t fly in this state and companies are smart enough to figure that out, so they delay as long as possible and squeeze out as much profit as they can,” said Ryan Schleeter, communications director at the Climate Center.
The legislations are being evaluated in a time when the climate crisis is intensifying around the world. Smoke from extreme wildfires covered Canada and the U.S. in 2023. Monday, 3 July 2023 was recorded as the hottest day ever globally, according to data from the US National Centers for Environmental Prediction.
The average global temperature reached 17.01°C (62.62F), surpassing the August 2016 record of 16.92°C (62.46F), proving extreme heatwaves could be the norm if the global temperature at atmospheric level continues rising and eventually reach 1.5°C.