InfluenceMap Score
Performance Band
Organisation Score
Relationship Score
San Diego, United States
Brands and Associated Companies:
San Diego Gas & Electric, Southern California Gas Company
Official Web Site:

Climate Lobbying Overview: Sempra is actively engaged in climate and energy policy in the U.S, with largely negative positions, particularly through its California subsidiaries SDG&E and SoCalGas. While communicating a positive top-line position on climate action, the majority of the company’s detailed climate-related lobbying appears focused on safeguarding the continued role for fossil gas in the energy mix, including pushing back on various GHG emissions regulations and decarbonization policies. In particular, SoCalGas demonstrates strategic engagement opposing state and local building electrification measures. The company also holds leadership positions in multiple industry groups with highly negative engagement with climate policy, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, American Petroleum Institute, and American Gas Association.

Top-line Messaging on Climate Policy: Sempra appears to have positive, though limited, top-line messaging on climate policy. In February 2021, CEO Jeffrey Martin co-authored an opinion piece in support of the U.S. re-entry into the Paris Agreement. In the introduction to the company’s April 2021 Sustainability Report, Martin also appears to support a zero-emissions economy by 2050. While Sempra’s top-line positions are positive, these do not appear consistent with the company's predominantly negative engagement with detailed climate policy related to the energy transition.

Engagement with Climate-Related Policy: Sempra appears to have mostly negative engagement with climate-related policies. From April to September 2021, Sempra consistently appeared in committee hearings to oppose the California Climate Crisis Act, which would have set a GHG emissions target of at least 90% below 1990 levels by 2045. In a May 2021 earnings call, the company appeared to advocate for broadening the scope of the state Renewable Portfolio Standard beyond zero-carbon technologies to include “low-carbon” technologies, specifically “renewable natural gas.” In March 2021, SDG&E submitted joint comments advocating for the partial rollback of rooftop solar subsidies under California’s Net Energy Metering program. In September 2020, SDG&E directly advocated to weaken CARB’s emissions regulations on sulfur hexachloride, a potent greenhouse gas. SoCalGas also reportedly opposed AB 3232 in California, a 2019 bill aiming to reduce carbon emissions from buildings throughout the state.

On the other hand, throughout 2019 to 2021, SDG&E directly engaged at the federal level with the Department of Energy on changes to energy efficiency standards on various technologies with generally supportive positions. For example, the subsidiary condemned the Department of Energy’s neglect of responsible energy efficiency rulemaking in May 2020 and advocated for more comprehensive compliance testing in July 2020.

Positioning on Energy Transition: Sempra is highly engaged on policy measures that promote the role of fossil gas in the energy mix and, consequently, opposing policymaker preference for electrification as a route to decarbonization. Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Sempra has consistently advocated for U.S. liquified natural gas (LNG) exports to replace Russian fossil fuels in Europe. The company supported the Biden administration's decision to increase LNG exports in an April 2022 E&E News article, and in a May 2022 earnings call, CEO Martin emphasized that the domestic fossil gas supply was "best positioned to meet the growing demand for both Asia and Europe." Sempra also seems to support the role of fossil gas in the transportation sector. According to its recent federal lobbying reports, the company appears to be directly advocating for federal tax credits and incentives for fossil gas vehicles. In May 2022, subsidiary SoCalGas signed a joint letter to the House Appropriations Committee that advocated for increased research and development funding toward fossil gas vehicles. In California, subsidiary SDG&E commented in support of California’s Advanced Clean Trucks (ACT) rule in May 2020, while SoCalGas directly advocated throughout 2019 and 2020 to weaken the rule’s definition of “near zero” emissions in an effort to protect gas-powered vehicles.

Subsidiary SoCalGas demonstrates strategic and negative engagement on state- and municipal-level decarbonization policies in California, especially in the building sector. In April 2019, the Los Angeles Times reported that SoCalGas was a key player behind an organization called Californians for Balanced Energy Solutions (C4BES), a coalition which appears to strongly oppose electrification policies throughout the state. In December 2019, SoCalGas submitted joint comments with C2BES to the California Energy Commission (CEC) requesting that the CEC pause its consideration of reach code approvals, or local energy codes that exceed the requirements of state law. In August 2020 comments to the California Energy Commission regarding the Title 24 state building energy code, the utility emphasized that “decarbonization and fuel diversity, not electrification, is the policy of the state.” According to an Energy Solutions Center agenda document, SoCalGas appears to have engaged in a workshop session with other utilities in November 2020 to oppose building electrification mandates and protect fossil gas through a messaging strategy that frames it as an issue of “consumer choice.” SoCalGas has also been consistently and directly engaging with local policymakers in opposition to municipal building electrification proposals, as evidenced by a February 2021 letter to the city Agoura Hills, a February 2020 letter to Ventura County, and an August 2019 letter to the city San Luis Obispo. In January 2021, the Santa Barbara News-Press reported on the subsidiary’s campaign with C2BES to oppose the proposed building electrification code in the Santa Barbara City Council. As of November 2021, SoCalGas has a “Balanced Energy Resolutions” page on its corporate website on which it celebrates municipalities that appear to have opposed restrictions on fossil gas by supporting "energy choice" in their communities. During the drafting of the California Scoping Plan Update, SoCalGas submitted several comments in opposition to ambitious decarbonization timelines, including in September 2021 comments in which it opposed a proposal to retrofit existing buildings with electric appliances.

Industry Association Governance: Sempra has disclosed a review of its industry associations in the appendix of its 2021 Sustainability Report released in April 2022. The company discloses its alignment with each association's climate policy positions, but describes each group's positions and engagement activities only in broad terms without reference to specific policies. Sempra is a board member of the American Petroleum Institute and the Edison Electric Institute (EEI), as well as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the American Gas Association, and California Chamber of Commerce. All of these groups generally engage negatively on climate policy, with the exception of EEI which demonstrates more mixed positions. As of 2022, Sempra no longer appears to be a member of Business Roundtable, a group that engages on climate policy with mixed positions.

Strength of Relationship

How to Read our Relationship Score Map

In this section, we depict graphically the relationships the corporation has with trade associations, federations, advocacy groups and other third parties who may be acting on their behalf to influence climate change policy. Each of the columns above represents one relationship the corporation appears to have with such a third party. In these columns, the top, dark section represents the strength of the relationship the corporation has with the influencer. For example if a corporation's senior executive also held a key role in the trade association, we would deem this to be a strong relationship and it would be on the far left of the chart above, with the weaker ones to the right. Click on these grey shaded upper sections for details of these relationships. The middle section contains a link to the organization score details of the influencer concerned, so you can see the details of its climate change policy influence. Click on the middle sections for for details of the trade associations. The lower section contains the organization score of that influencer, the lower the more negatively it is influencing climate policy.