(Washington, DC) - House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Frank Lucas sent a letter to Shalanda Young, Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), regarding the outsourcing of emissions verifications to a foreign entity.
The Committee first raised concerns in March with a proposed rule by the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council (FAR) that would require government contractors to disclose their greenhouse gas emissions and develop emission reduction targets to be validated and approved by the international non-governmental organization known as the Science Based Target Initiative (SBTi).
As the Committee pointed out in March, SBTi has come under scrutiny for potential conflicts of interest, a lack of transparency, and manipulation of emissions metrics. Today’s letter highlights new information that has recently been brought to light about SBTi, which was not officially incorporated as a business until June 26, 2023, nearly eight years after its launch and many months after the publication of the proposed rule.
“While SBTi filed its official incorporation in the United Kingdom, it appears that it is currently not registered in the United States,” the letter notes. “SBTi is funded and managed by We Mean Business, an organization closely linked to the New Venture Fund, a known Democratic ‘dark money’ group that does not disclose its donors. SBTi’s connection to groups that routinely fund Democratic causes and campaigns exacerbates concerns that they were arbitrarily selected to perform this task and that this Administration is potentially directing millions of dollars in business revenue to an organization that is closely tied to its donors. Congress needs to know immediately if this Administration has been attempting to improperly use the rule-making process to funnel money to anonymous partisan corporate entities.”
Adding to these alarming concerns, the letter also notes one of SBTi’s founders - allegedly removed from the company’s technology advisory committee after raising concerns regarding the company’s scientific methodology - recently said that under the Administration’s proposed rule, SBTi would be “operating in a quasi-regulator stance…and yet it doesn’t have the kind of checks and balances or transparency for such an organization.”
In addition to the organizational concerns about SBTi, Lucas noted the security concerns raised by outsourcing emissions verifications to a foreign entity. “From a scientific and national security perspective, the unconstitutional outsourcing of Congressional authority to SBTi limits the federal government from actively reviewing the processes and methodologies to ensure sound scientific practices are being followed. Additionally, the federal government would be inhibited from ensuring foreign actors are not influencing the group to harm the U.S. or our allies. Without a clear oversight process, the United States will have no way of knowing whether or not SBTi’s emissions metrics are being manipulated to disfavor American companies, making it harder for us to acquire goods and materials that are critical to our national security.”
Given the myriad of problematic issues raised in the letter, as well as the lack of answers to further explain and justify the selection of SBTi by CEQ and FAR, the Committee requests for OMB to provide a response to its letter by August 30th.
The full letter is available here.