Senator Wiener Responds to Watered Down SEC Climate Rule: “California’s Climate Leadership is More Critical than Ever”

March 6, 2024

SACRAMENTO – In a 3-2 vote this morning, the Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) approved a significantly weakened federal version of California’s landmark carbon disclosure law, SB 253, authored by Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco). Unlike California’s law, the SEC rule does not require companies to disclose emissions from their supply chain, which can account for 75% or more of total emissions, and for the limited carbon disclosures that are required, the rule allows companies to unilaterally choose not to disclose information they deem irrelevant to their investors. 

The SEC decision comes as California’s climate disclosure laws, SB 253 and 261, are under attack from a radical right-wing lawsuit launched by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the oil and banking industries, and other industries opposed to public transparency around carbon emissions.

In response, Senator Wiener issued the following statement:

“The SEC rule is weak and falls far short of what’s needed on climate disclosures. Corporate lobbying won out over transparency, and corporations now have leeway under the SEC rule to mislead the public and investors on their role in the climate crisis. The loopholes in the SEC rule are significant, out of step with climate disclosure requirements in our peer countries, and out of step with the serious threat climate change poses to the future of business and the planet.

“With the SEC’s highly limited carbon disclosure rule now in place, California’s climate leadership is more critical than ever in ensuring investors and the public get the full picture of how corporations are navigating the climate crisis. SB 253 and SB 261 must be fully implemented on the timeline passed into law, and California must vigorously defend them in court against the Chamber of Commerce’s radical lawsuit. We must not rely on the voluntary good faith of corporations — including some of the biggest polluters on the planet — to tell us about the scale of their carbon impact. Given the SEC’s poor decision, California law is now the only requirement giving the public the full picture.”