• Atmospheric CO2 /Parts per Million /Annual Averages /Data Source: noaa.gov

  • 1980338.91ppm

  • 1981340.11ppm

  • 1982340.86ppm

  • 1983342.53ppm

  • 1984344.07ppm

  • 1985345.54ppm

  • 1986346.97ppm

  • 1987348.68ppm

  • 1988351.16ppm

  • 1989352.78ppm

  • 1990354.05ppm

  • 1991355.39ppm

  • 1992356.1ppm

  • 1993356.83ppm

  • 1994358.33ppm

  • 1995360.18ppm

  • 1996361.93ppm

  • 1997363.04ppm

  • 1998365.7ppm

  • 1999367.8ppm

  • 2000368.97ppm

  • 2001370.57ppm

  • 2002372.59ppm

  • 2003375.14ppm

  • 2004376.96ppm

  • 2005378.97ppm

  • 2006381.13ppm

  • 2007382.9ppm

  • 2008385.01ppm

  • 2009386.5ppm

  • 2010388.76ppm

  • 2011390.63ppm

  • 2012392.65ppm

  • 2013395.39ppm

  • 2014397.34ppm

  • 2015399.65ppm

  • 2016403.09ppm

  • 2017405.22ppm

  • 2018407.62ppm

  • 2019410.07ppm

  • 2020412.44ppm

  • 2021414.72ppm

News & Views

SEC’s ESG disclosure proposal under fire from 23 US treasurers

Twenty-three state financial officers argue that the SEC is not a ‘climate regulator’ in a signed letter to the commission that highlights concerns over proposed ESG disclosures.

By Madeleine Saghir
29.06.2022
Content Tags: ESG  Regulation  U.S. 

John Murante, national chair of the State Financial Officers Foundation (SFOF) and 22 state treasurers have suggested the proposed mandates of climate-related disclosures from the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) are tarnishing investment protocols with political aims.

The ESG disclosure rule, the Enhancement and Standardization of Climate-Related Disclosures for Investors, is part of a broader effort under the Biden administration’s commitment to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to 50-52% below 2005 levels in 2030.

The SEC’s proposed rule would require the inclusion of climate-related financial metrics in a company’s audited financial statements, and require registrants to disclose GHG emissions information under Scopes 1, 2 and 3, and climate-related risks.

In a letter to the SEC, the treasurers said this would make the SEC a “climate regulator”, which would violate the Securities and Exchange Act and usurp the authority of Congress. SFOF said it would also violate the First Amendment by forcing issuers to speak “extensively” to businesses about their climate change contribution.

The letter states: “We have watched with dismay as the Commission and other federal commissions and boards have proposed rules and policies that promote political causes that will adversely affect public finance and retirement income.”

SFOF suggested the rule “inexcusably fails” to consider the impacts on everyday Americans in an unstable economic environment, and could drive investment away from sectors that support millions of jobs and thousands of communities, amid historic levels of inflation.

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We have watched with dismay as the Commission and other federal commissions and boards have proposed rules and policies that promote political causes that will adversely affect public finance and retirement income.

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US state treasurers’ letter

Costs of compliance

The treasurers also argue that the increased costs of compliance will be borne by issuers, with “no clear benefit to the issuers or investors”.

Seemingly, the US is also becoming cost conscious when it comes to ESG compliance.

A global ESG study by Capital Group identified that, while a UK pension fund believed the additional costs involved in ESG should be accepted as part of the process, US investors, bound by their stringent fiduciary duty to clients, place a higher emphasis on costs.

Elsewhere in the letter, the treasures said the proposed rule “indulges in irrational climate exceptionalism” and elevates climate concerns above other economic risks, which could mislead investors.

Additionally, they argued these news laws fail to consider relying on an existing GHG emissions registry operated by the US Environmental Protection Agency, which already requires disclosures on environmental issues.

The letter also draws upon the SEC’s justification for the rule on comparable data. The treasurers noted the proposed rule will “fail to enable comparison across issuers”, making it impossible to create consistent data for investors.

The treasurers conclude that the core decision to require additional disclosures is biased and has already been prejudged by the SEC’s acting chair. They added: “As a result, any final rule will bear the taint of prejudgment.”

Content Tags: ESG  Regulation  U.S. 

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