POLITICO: California goes after corporate carbon

January 31, 2023


A group of Senate Democrats Monday unveiled new versions of climate bills that died in the Legislature last year, hoping to put a tighter leash on a sector of the population that environmental advocates have long complained pumps an outsized amount of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere.

The bill package championed by Sens. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco), Lena Gonzalez (D-Long Beach) and Henry Stern (D-Calabasas) is three-fold and attempts to crack down on corporate “greenwashing,” require climate risk disclosures, and — this is a big one — force the state pension funds to divest from fossil fuels.

Climate advocacy groups for years have been urging the Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) and the State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) to offload billions in oil and gas holdings. Gonzalez last year tried to take the fight to the state Legislature. Her bill made it out of the Senate, but was pulled from the docket in the Assembly’s Public Employment and Retirement Committee, chaired by then-Assemblymember Jim Cooper (D-Sacramento).

Assemblymember Tina McKinnor (D-Inglewood) now chairs that committee — and at a press conference, Gonzalez said she feels bullish about passage.

‘I’m hopeful that this year, with a new makeup in the Assembly, with more in our coalition and more emphasis on this crisis, we can actually get this done,” she said.

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