Energy & Environment

SEC extends deadline for public to comment on climate risk proposal

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) extended how long the public will have to weigh in on a proposal that would require companies to reveal their vulnerabilities and contributions to climate change. 

In a Monday press release, the SEC said that people will now have until June 17 to comment on the proposal, which would require publicly traded companies to tell investors how climate-related risks like severe weather and efforts to limit their fossil fuel use may impact their business. 

It would also require publicly traded companies to disclose their own contributions to climate change, by making them reveal information about how much their activities directly add to climate-warming emissions. If it is deemed “material” to investors, companies would also have to disclose emissions they indirectly cause, such as those that come from using their products.

For many industries such as fossil fuel companies and automakers, emissions from the use of their products may make up a greater share of their climate contributions than their operations. 

SEC Chair Gary Gensler said in a statement that it would extend the proposal’s comment period due to “significant interest” from investors and others. 

 “Commenters with diverse views have noted that they would benefit from additional time,” he said. “I’m pleased that the public will have additional time to provide thoughtful feedback.”

The long-awaited March climate proposal has been hit with criticism from both sides of the aisle. 

Republicans have argued that the rule is overly broad and goes against the agency’s mission to “protect investors; maintain fair, orderly, and efficient markets; and facilitate capital formation.”

Meanwhile, progressives have said that the requirements surrounding indirect emissions are not comprehensive enough and contain loopholes that could let companies off the hook. 

Tags Climate change Gary Gensler Regulations SEC
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