Last week, the Securities and Exchange Commission voted to provide public companies with interpretive guidance on existing disclosure requirements as they apply to business or legal developments relating to the issue of climate change.
Chairman Mary Schapiro pointed out in her speech that the SEC is not commenting or opining on the issue of climate change; rather the guidance is intend to “provide clarity and enhance consistency” to help companies decide what does and does not need to be disclosed.
There has been a fair amount of discussion, mostly because climate change is such a lightning rod issue. I think most people, even Republicans, have agreed that the planet is going through some fairly rapid climate change. The debate has shifted to how much of it is caused by man and what we can do to slow climate change. But not the SEC: “We are not opining on whether the world’s climate is changing, at what pace it might be changing, or due to what causes.” If they are going to regulate, they should at least admit that there is climate change.
Maybe they should take a trip to McCarty Glacier in Alaska.
As with most SEC rules, the press release was short on details and we are still waiting for the actual interpretive notice to see what will be required.
- SEC Press Release: SEC Issues Interpretive Guidance on Disclosure Related to Business or Legal Developments Regarding Climate Change
- Speech by SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro: Statement Before the Open Commission Meeting on Disclosure Related to Business or Legislative Events on the Issue of Climate Change
- The SEC, global warming and the First Amendment by Larry Ribstein in the Ideoblog
- The SEC Calls for Climate-Related Disclosures by Jonathan H. Adler in The Volokh Conspiracy
- SEC to Issue Interpretive Release on Climate Change by Jaclyn Jaeger
- SEC Requires More Climate Change Data By Jilian Mincer in WSJ.com’s Financial Adviser
- SEC’s “Interpretive Guidance…Regarding Climate Change” Leaves Many Scratching Their Heads in Corporate Compliance Insights
The globe image is by Jackl under the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0 in Wikimedia: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Global_warming_ubx.svg.png