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California’s Landmark Climate Disclosure Laws: Preparing Now for Far-Reaching Impact on Public and Private Companies

Reporting Entities; Data Requirements; Compliance Timeline; Possible Ripple Effect on SEC Pending Rule and Other Legislation

Recording of a 90-minute CLE video webinar with Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Conducted on Tuesday, January 9, 2024

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE webinar will guide environmental counsel through California's two recently enacted, groundbreaking climate disclosure bills: Senate Bill 253 (SB 253) and Senate Bill 261 (SB 261). The panel will discuss who is impacted and when. The panel will address how these laws compare to the SEC's pending rule, and how these laws may affect the SEC final rule and impact legislation moving forward. The panel will also provide best practices for counsel and companies to prepare for compliance.


On Oct. 12, 2023, California enacted two climate disclosure bills that will significantly impact thousands of major companies, both public and private, doing business in California with requirements that go beyond the SEC's proposed climate disclosures. The laws may affect the SEC's pending rule, providing the agency with incentive to push for more aggressive measures in its final climate disclosure rule. And given the size of the state's economy, the laws may have sweeping implications beyond California's borders.

Beginning in 2026, SB 253 "Climate Corporate Data Accountability Act" requires U.S.-based companies with $1 billion or more in annual revenues that do business in California to file annual reports publicly disclosing (and verifying) their direct GHG emissions from operations (Scope 1 emissions) and indirect GHG emissions from energy use (Scope 2 emissions). Beginning in 2027, reporting entities will also have to report Scope 3 emissions which include the direct and indirect emissions of employees, suppliers, and customers, which will be significantly difficult to calculate.

Additionally, SB 261 "Greenhouse Gases: Climate-Related Financial Risk" requires U.S.-based companies (other than insurers) with $500 million or more in annual revenues that do business in California to prepare biennial reports disclosing climate-related financial risk and measures they have adopted to reduce and adapt to that risk. The first report will be due Jan. 1, 2026.

Given the scope of these disclosure requirements and the significant penalties for noncompliance, counsel and their clients should clearly understand the requirements so that they can begin to equip themselves to respond.

Listen as our expert panel guides practitioners through each groundbreaking law and discusses best practices as counsel and clients prepare for compliance.



  1. Overview of current state ESG climate disclosure laws generally and the significance of California's new legislation
  2. SB 253
    1. Reporting entities
    2. Reporting requirements
    3. Penalties for noncompliance
    4. Compliance timeline
  3. SB 261
    1. Reporting entities
    2. Reporting requirements
    3. Penalties for noncompliance
    4. Compliance timeline
  4. AB 1305
  5. Possible impact on SEC final climate disclosure rule and other federal/state legislation
  6. Best practices: what counsel and companies should be doing now to prepare for compliance


The panel will review these and other important issues:

  • How do the two California laws' requirements differ from the SEC's pending climate disclosure rule?
  • How may the two laws influence the SEC's final climate disclosure rule? Other legislation?
  • How will the laws impact private companies? Public companies?
  • Why should counsel and their clients begin to prepare for compliance now?


Mulry, Laura
Laura Mulry

White & Case

Ms. Mulry focuses on environmental and sustainability matters. She advises a broad range of domestic and international...  |  Read More

Otum, Peggy
Peggy Otum

Partner; Co-Chair, Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Practice
Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr

Ms. Otum focuses her practice on complex environmental litigation and regulatory compliance counseling. During her more...  |  Read More

Rousakis, John
John Rousakis

O'Melveny & Myers

Mr. Rousakis helps his clients to evaluate and manage environmental risks and spot opportunities in an increasingly...  |  Read More

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