Senator Wiener Responds to US Chamber’s Climate Denier Extremist Lawsuit To Block Landmark Climate Law
SACRAMENTO – Today, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce announced a lawsuit against the state of California’s air regulator, Chamber v. California Air Resources Board (CARB), attempting to block Senator Wiener’s landmark climate law SB 253, as well as Senator Henry Stern’s landmark SB 261, which were signed into law by Governor Newsom last fall. SB 253 and 261 are globally leading carbon disclosure laws that will be deeply impactful in California’s climate efforts.
Senator Wiener issued the following statement in response:
“The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s lawsuit against these groundbreaking climate laws is straight up climate denial,” said Senator Wiener. “Why is the Chamber of Commerce working so aggressively to block basic transparency for the public? We know the answer. It’s not because of the Chamber’s bogus arguments about cost and implementation, since it’s both inexpensive and easy for corporations to make these disclosures. It’s not because of the Chamber’s bizarre and frivolous First Amendment argument. Rather, the Chamber is taking this extremist legal action because many large corporations — particularly fossil fuel corporations and large banks — are absolutely terrified that if they have to tell the public how dramatically they’re fueling climate change, they’ll no longer be able to mislead the public and investors. The Chamber and large corporate polluters don’t want the public to know how much they’re strangling the planet with carbon emissions — that’s why they filed this baseless lawsuit.
“The climate crisis is a real and present threat to our planet and to businesses’ success. Investors and consumers have a right to know the details of how billion dollar companies are navigating the greatest challenge of our time, and many major corporations like Apple and Google are already making these disclosures and support these laws because they understand that need. While corporate lobby groups continue to wage an unhinged misinformation campaign against these laws, investors and consumers are being deprived of vital information to navigate our rapidly warming planet.”
Under SB 253, all corporations with gross annual revenue over $1 billion that do business in California must begin disclosing their greenhouse gas emissions by 2026. Before the companies can file, the California Air Resources Board (“CARB”) must establish rules that govern details of the disclosures. Under SB 261, corporations with gross annual revenue over $500 million that do business in California must disclose their climate-related risk.
The costs to major corporations of complying with these requirements is miniscule. A report by ERM of companies with market capitalization of more than $1 billion dollars found that the average cost for full climate risk disclosures was $533,000, while greenhouse gas (GHG) accounting and disclosure was $237,000 - hardly a bank-breaking cost for a billion-dollar corporation. The introduction of tech-enabled GHG accounting solution providers as part of a rapidly growing multi-billion dollar GHG accounting sector is also creating greater access to more comprehensive services at lower cost.
Moreover, some of the most successful corporations in the world — for example, Apple, Google, Salesforce, Microsoft, Patagonia, Amalgamated Bank, Levi’s — are already compiling this data. It’s not rocket science.
SB 253 and 261 are only the latest in a long line of established corporate disclosure requirements. In 2010, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the Transparency in Supply Chains Act into law, requiring large corporations to disclose any ties to human trafficking and slave labor in their supply chains. The requirement has been held up in court repeatedly in the 14 years since it was enacted.
These climate laws faced intense lobbying from the oil and gas industry, the banking industry, and corporate lobby groups opposed to the bill, but they ultimately passed with support from numerous corporate leaders, including California economic powerhouses Salesforce, Apple, Google, Levi’s and Patagonia. Governor Newsom signed the bills on October 7th, weeks after announcing his intention to sign from the mainstage of NYC Climate Week.