SEC Urged to Provide Guidance on Climate Change Disclosure

November 16, 2007
Client Alert Newsletter November 2007

In September, a coalition of public interest groups, government officials and institutional investors filed a petition before the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC"), requesting that the SEC provide explicit guidance on the need for public companies to disclose all material information related to the impact of climate change risk. The petition does not seek a change in the current SEC disclosure requirements, but instead requests clarification that current disclosure requirements mandate disclosure of material risks related to climate change, including physical risks associated with climate change, financial risks and opportunities associated with current and probable greenhouse gas regulations, and legal proceedings related to climate change. The petition was accompanied by a request for the SEC to begin evaluating climate change disclosures even in the absence of guidance. More recently, the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs' Subcommittee on Securities, Insurance and Investment held a hearing entitled "Climate Disclosure: Measuring Financial Risks and Opportunities" where witnesses and Senators urged the SEC to issue a more definitive statement on climate change disclosure. As of this writing, the SEC had not ruled on the climate change disclosure petition.