Last week, during a program on "Building the Financial System of the 21st Century," in the course of a speech principally focused on various market risks, SEC Commissioner Crenshaw nonetheless availed herself of the opportunity to mention that "[t]he Commission's staff is developing a proposal that will seek to provide decision-useful and comparable climate-related disclosures to investors so they can better understand an issuer's climate risks."
The fact that SEC Commissioner Crenshaw took pains to emphasize yet again the SEC's focus on promulgating new disclosures concerning climate risks highlights the importance of this initiative to the SEC and its senior policymakers. All of those regulated by the SEC can reasonably anticipate that this will continue to be a significant focus of SEC activities over the coming months, which will likely extend from disclosures to enforcement activity concerning perceived failures to comply with said disclosures.
Although SEC Commissioner Crenshaw did not provide any new details about the contents of these disclosures in her speech (which was focused on other issues), it seems likely that new information will be forthcoming on the contours of these proposed disclosures over the next few weeks.
It is not dramatic to say that climate change poses an existential threat to our current way of life. And acknowledging this concern, means acknowledging that our capital markets will be greatly impacted. The Commission’s staff is developing a proposal that will seek to provide decision-useful and comparable climate-related disclosures to investors so they can better understand an issuer’s climate risks. I am pleased that you are discussing this at this event.