Responses to U.S. SEC Climate Disclosure Rules Keep Coming in

Responses to U.S. SEC Climate Disclosure Rules Keep Coming in

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There’s been a lot of ringing in on newly proposed rules from the Securities and Exchange Commission mandating that all publicly traded U.S. companies disclose their annual greenhouse-gas emissions and the climate risks their businesses face.

SEC Chair Gary Gensler this week defended his agency’s legal authority to make such a mandate, auguring it follows a “long tradition of disclosures.”

“I believe the proposed rule would build on that long tradition,” he said during an investor briefing hosted by the advocacy group Ceres. “It would provide investors with consistent, comparable, and decision-useful information for their investment decisions and would provide consistent and clear reporting obligations for issuers.”

Sen. Joe Manchin this week expressed deep concern about the new proposed SEC disclosures, arguing they go against the regulatory body’s mission they “appears to be the targeting of our nation’s fossil fuel companies,” according to a story from CNBC.

Climate activists welcomed the SEC’s proposal.

“While the proposed new climate disclosure rule is no panacea, it does represent an important step forward in terms of using market mechanisms to spur progress on climate action,” an opinion from Sierra Club states.

The U.S. Chamber of the Commerce said the SEC’s plans were not material to investors, and hinted that the proposal could see legal challenges.

Wetter Hurricanes

A new study shows that climate change made the deadly 2020 Atlantic hurricane season even wetter.

Climate change may also y make this season rainier as well, the report shows.

The study, Attribution of 2020 hurricane season extreme rainfall to human-induced climate change, was published in Nature Communications this week.

The study shows “human-induced climate change increased the extreme 3-hourly storm rainfall rates and extreme 3-day accumulated rainfall amounts during the full 2020 hurricane season for observed storms that are at least tropical storm strength,” with accumulated rainfall amounts increased by 11 and 8% respectively.

The report asserts that human induced climate change has increased global temperatures by more than 1 degree Celsius as of 2020, which has led to increases in sea surface temperature in the North Atlantic basin of 0.4–0.9 °C during the 2020 hurricane season.

The 2020 Hurricane season yielded a record number of named storms (30), a dozen of which made landfall in the U.S., which resulted in large regions experiencing hurricane rainfall. Economic costs from these storms are estimated to be in excess of $40 billion.

Sea surface temperatures at global and regional scales will continue to increase in the coming decades due to human-induced greenhouse gas emissions, according to the report.

“This work suggests that this warming will lead to yet further increases in North Atlantic hurricane season extreme rainfall rates and accumulated amounts,” the report’s authors write.

Climate Suits

A push by Britain to tighten up climate change-related disclosures could put a spotlight on “climate change dawdlers,” according to a Reuters article on Insurance Journal this week.

Nearly 2,000 climate change-related lawsuits worldwide have been recorded to date, most of them in the last seven years, a report from London’s Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment showed.

Most of the lawsuits filed have been aimed at public authorities, however an increaing number are being lodged against companies with allegations such as breaching a duty of care to prevent climate change or misleading consumers about efforts to address global warming.

“Vulnerable companies will be those which are meaningful contributors to climate change, or are failing to manage the risks posed by climate change to their businesses, or those presenting a green façade to consumers which is not backed up by the facts,” Isabella Hervey-Bathurst, co-manager of the Schroder ISF Global Climate Leaders fund, told Reuters.

Just this month Britain became the first G20 nation to make it mandatory for more than 1,300 companies to disclose climate-related risks and opportunities, in line with the global Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures. TCFD standards are designed to encourage companies to be more transparent as the world strives to limit global warming.

Scientists Protest

More than 1,000 scientists from two dozen countries have staged protests following the release of a new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warning quick action to reduce carbon emissions are a must by 2025 to avoid catastrophic climate effects.

A group called Scientist Rebellion in a letter called current plans “grossly inadequate,” The Smithsonian is reporting.

Scientists in Los Angeles chained themselves to the JP Morgan Chase building, protesters in Washington, D.C. chained themselves to the White House fence, Spanish scientists threw fake blood at the National Congress, Panamanian scientists staged demonstrations at various embassies, and German protesters glued themselves to a bridge, the publication reported.

“The Scientist Rebellion members have led several protests before, including at COP26 in Glasgow, at universities across the U.K. and in front of the Royal Society, per its website,” the Smithsonian article states. “Last year, the organization leaked a draft of the IPCC report.”

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