On March 11, John Coates, the Acting Director of the Division of Corporate Finance at the SEC (and a former professor at Harvard Law focusing on law and economics), delivered remarks at the Tulane Corporate Law Institute.  In his statement, Coates focused on ESG disclosures, noting that "ESG no longer needs to be explained" and that these issues are "important" to "investors, public companies, and capital markets." 

Significantly, Coates noted the issue of climate risk and climate change as information that should be featured in ESG disclosures.  He compared the issue of climate change to the prior disclosure regime concerning asbestos, as an example of a risk that became increasingly apparent--and necessary to disclose--over time. 

When considering this statement in the context of all of the other measures recently announced by the Biden Administration, including other statements by the SEC, it is clear that the question of climate change and the appropriate degree of disclosure will be an increasing focus for regulatory agencies over the coming months--and could lead to potential enforcement action.