Barrasso slams SEC on climate risk disclosure

“It’s not a good use of their time and resources. Once again the Administration is taking its eye off the ball,” he said on Fox News, according to a copy of his remarks circulated by his office.

“We ought to be talking about jobs, the economy and national security. The Securities and Exchange Commission is supposed to protect investors. They’re the people that completely missed Bernie Madoff,” added Barrasso, a leading Senate opponent of climate rules and legislation.

The SEC voted last week to issue "guidance" that explains when existing rules for public companies require disclosure of climate-related matters.

The SEC said companies should provide information on how their business may be affected by existing and proposed climate laws and policies, as well as international agreements. For instance, demand for goods that produce substantial amounts of greenhouse gas emissions could drop, while demand for products that help reduce emissions could rise, the SEC said.

Companies should also disclose how changing environmental conditions may affect them, the SEC said.

Environmentalists and advocates of “green” investing cheered the Jan. 27 SEC action.

Mindy Lubber, director of the Investor Network on Climate Risk, called the SEC vote a “clarion call about the vast risks and opportunities climate change poses for U.S. companies and the urgency for integrating them into investment decision making.”

“Investors have a right to know which companies are planning to be part of the clean energy future and which are lagging behind,” said Environmental Defense Fund President Fred Krupp.