New York, N.Y. — The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) proposed amendments that would enhance and standardize registrants’ climate-related disclosures for investors at today’s open meeting. This move signals a rising need for transparency among investors regarding their companies’ greenhouse gas emissions and the underlying risks associated with their business practices.
“It is well-recognized that investors need reliable information about emissions, plans to reduce emissions, and climate-related risks,” said Bethany Davis Noll Executive Director of the State Energy & Environmental Impact Center. “The SEC’s proposal promises significant benefits in requiring the disclosure of this information and standardizing it.”
Background — In March 2021, SEC requested comments on climate change disclosures for investors and other market participants. The request included a list of questions for consideration and explained SEC plans to evaluate whether its disclosure rules sufficiently equip investors with “consistent, comparable, and reliable information on climate change.”
In June 2021, in response to that request, a coalition of 12 attorneys general (AGs) led by California AG Rob Bonta filed comments. In their filing the AGs stated, “Climate change is not a distant problem to be dealt with in the future; it is here, and it threatens the U.S. economy and its financial system.” Further comments from AGs in this coalition were documented in our press release from this date. An opposing coalition of 16 AGs also filed comments in June 2021 urging the commission not to “expand its congressional mandate into unrelated social matters.”
As demand for more information on climate financial risks has grown, the State Energy & Environmental Impact Center hosted, in collaboration with the Woodwell Climate Research Center and the Massachusetts Office of Attorney General, a three-part series on this topic. The series, Seeing the Dangers Ahead: How Regulators and Advocates Can Harness Physical and Financial Risk Data to Tackle the Climate Emergency brought together policymakers, analysts, experts, and advocates to discuss existing data, gaps in the data needed to address climate risks in an equitable and just manner, and the role of companies and decisionmakers in addressing climate risk.
About the State Energy & Environmental Impact Center:
The State Energy & Environmental Impact Center at NYU School of Law is a nonpartisan academic center at NYU School of Law. The Center is dedicated to working towards a healthy and safe environment, guided by inclusive and equitable principles. The Center studies and supports the work of state attorneys general (AGs) in defending, enforcing, and promoting strong laws and policies in the areas of climate, environmental justice, environmental protection, and clean energy.