May 23, 2022

SEC proposes a plan to require publicly traded companies to disclose climate-related information

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is proposing a rule that would force the disclosure of climate-related information from many companies.

According to The Daily Caller, the agency, which serves as the nation’s top financial regulator, would require all publicly traded companies to “severe weather events and other natural conditions” that may impact their business.

“I am pleased to support today’s proposal because, if adopted, it would provide investors with consistent, comparable, and decision-useful information for making their investment decisions, and it would provide consistent and clear reporting obligations for issuers,” SEC Chairman Gary Gensler said.

“Today’s proposal would help issuers more efficiently and effectively disclose these risks and meet investor demand, as many issuers already seek to do,” the chairman, who was appointed by President Joe Biden in February of 2021 said. “Companies and investors alike would benefit from the clear rules of the road proposed in this release.”

However, not everyone is as delighted about the action as the SEC chairman:

“Today’s action hijacks the democratic process and disrespects the limited scope of authority that Congress gave to the SEC,” Senate Banking Committee Ranking Member Pat Toomey said in a statement. “This is a thinly-veiled effort to have unelected financial regulators set climate and energy policy for America.”

SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce, the agency’s lone Republican, said during a hearing on the proposal held Monday that “The proposal will undermine the existing regulatory framework that for many decades has undergirded consistent, comparable, and reliable company disclosures.

“We cannot make such fundamental changes to our disclosure regime without harming investors, the economy, and this agency. Congress, however, did not give us plenary authority over the economy and did not authorize us to adopt rules that are not consistent with applicable constitutional limitations,” she said.

“This proposal steps outside our statutory limits by using the disclosure framework to achieve objectives that are not ours to pursue.”

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