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Petitioners Want SEC to Force Climate Risk Disclosure

Climate change poses significant business risks, and for some companies, this may so change the landscape that it is of significance to investors

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Sept., 21, 2007 -- Environmental groups, investors and state officials from around the country filed a petition to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission this week asking the agency to force public companies to disclose the risks they face from climate change.

New York's attorney general, Florida's chief financial officer, Ceres and Environmental Defense are among the petitioners trying to force the SEC's hand on an issue they claim isn't getting enough attention in company financials and disclosures. Combined, the petitioners control more than $1.5 trillion in assets.

The move follows an investigation announced last week by New York’s attorney general into whether five energy companies adequately disclosed the financial risk they could be exposed to from the coal-fired power plants they owned or planned to build.

"There's a growing recognition that climate change poses significant business risks, and for some companies, this may so change the landscape that it is of significance to investors," Gary Guzy, former general counsel at the EPA, told the Washington Post this week.

A fact sheet prepared by the two petitioning environmental groups contends that climate change-related governmental initiatives at the local, state and federal levels represent nearly 60 percent of U.S. gross domestic product and 54 percent of the population.

The SEC said little, according to published reports, and is not required to respond to the petition.


Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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