Feb 14, 2022 - Economy

SEC boss on climate rule: We're getting there

Gary Gensler

Securities and Exchange Commission chairman Gary Gensler testifying in the Senate in September 2021. Photo: Bill Clark/Pool/AFP via Getty Images

Securities and Exchange Commission chairman Gary Gensler said he's working with other commissioners on details of a draft climate risk disclosure mandate — and he's dropping fresh hints about its direction.

Why it matters: The rule is part of a wider push by Biden-appointed financial regulators to expand analysis and disclosure of risks to various kinds of companies.

Driving the news: Gensler's posted a Twitter thread Friday that comes as he's under pressure to unveil the plan initially slated for release by the end of 2021.

  • Bloomberg reported that the SEC's Democratic majority is divided over the structure of the closely watched proposal.

The big picture: Gensler said it should enable investors to make apples-to-apples evaluations.

  • "Like the Olympics, fans compare skiers across heats, countries, & generations. Investors today are asking for the ability to compare companies w/ each other," he tweeted.
  • He stressed the need for "sufficient quantitative & qualitative detail" because "generic boilerplate" isn't helpful.

The intrigue: Environmentalists want the SEC to require detailed disclosures about companies' reliance on emissions offsets to meet climate targets.

  • A new letter to the SEC from the Sierra Club and Public Citizen says offset markets have "significant environmental, accounting and social integrity problems that jeopardize fulfillment of corporate climate pledges."
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