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. The SEC has now released the text of the guidance:
Guidance Regarding Disclosure Related to Climate Change
Those who are fired up about global warming will be quickly underwhelmed by the guidance. At its most basic it merely reminds public companies that they need “to consider climate change and its consequences as they prepare disclosure documents to be filed with us and provided to investors.”
The guidance claims that it will does not create any new disclosure requirements. Given the increased regulation of emissions, cap and trade, and insurance company adjustments, companies need to disclose the potential impact of these changes on the future prospects of the company.
I expect we will see a new section in the annual filings this spring, some interesting reading and some inflammatory news reports.
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