The SEC and Climate Change

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.

Image from Global Warming Art under CC-BY-SA

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.

Sources:

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

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  1. SEC Guidance Regarding Disclosure Related to Climate Change | Compliance Building - February 3, 2010

    [...] disclosure requirements as they apply to business or legal developments relating to the issue of climate change. The SEC has now released the text of the guidance: Guidance Regarding Disclosure Related to [...]

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