Climate Disclosure Comments to the SEC

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The Securities and Exchange Commission’s Allison Herren Lee solicited comments on climate change from the public back on March 15, and the deadline for those responses has now arrived. I wrote a comment letter focused on regulatory burdens, information markets, and the limits of producing valuable data via threat of punishment. My colleague Marlo Lewis submitted a parallel comment focusing on climate change theory and scientific modeling. Both were co-signed by allies from several other public policy organizations.

My letter responded in detail to the first of Commissioner Lee’s 15 questions for consideration, which started by asking “How can the Commission best regulate, monitor, review, and guide climate change disclosures in order to provide more consistent, comparable, and reliable information for investors while also providing greater clarity to registrants as to what is expected of them?” My response included several sections:

  • Jurisdiction and Appropriateness
  • Disclosure Mandates as Failed Climate Policy by Other Means
  • Long Term Uncertainty and Climate Science
  • Finance Industry Validation?
  • Not All Information Is Data, and Not All Data Are Useful
  • First Amendment Concerns

I also included shorter response to four other numbered questions, addressing changes to any future disclosure regime over time, the advantages of global standards, the use of a “comply or explain” enforcement framework, and the opportunity to address other environment, social, and governance—ESG—concerns under similar terms as climate change.

In addition to the comments filed by Marlo and myself, interested readers should peruse interesting submissions from Katie Tubb of the Heritage Foundation, Joe Shoen of U-Haul, and Wayne Winegarden of the Pacific Research Institute.