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Elizabeth Warren wants a climate-friendly SEC

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) at a speaking event
Photo: Josh Brasted/FilmMagic/Getty Images

2020 Democratic contender Sen. Elizabeth Warren is reviving her push to require detailed disclosures from publicly traded companies about climate change.

Why it matters: It's part of the push by Warren, one of the top-tier Democratic candidates, for much stronger financial regulation to reshape markets in a way that she says would provide greater public benefit.

What she's saying: Warren supports "using the power of public markets to accelerate the adoption of clean energy," she wrote in a Medium post.

Driving the news: Warren just reintroduced her legislation that would require filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission that cover areas including:

  • Greenhouse gas emissions, both direct and indirect.
  • Fossil fuel assets.
  • Physical risks from climate change and risks stemming from the global transition to a lower-carbon economy.

But, but, but: The prospects for the bill are highly uncertain even if Democrats were to gain control of the Senate in 2020.

  • However, the Warren campaign tells me that some of the goals could be advanced without legislation if she's elected president.
  • "The SEC does have the tools to require more robust disclosures and Elizabeth will look for nominees who will pick up these tools," spokesperson Saloni Sharma told me via email.

The big picture: Revival of the proposal signals how Warren and some other candidates are crafting plans that would extend climate policy into many corners of government, not just the major resource agencies and EPA.

  • The legislation is co-sponsored by several other 2020 hopefuls — Sens. Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand, Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar and Michael Bennet.
  • Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is co-sponsoring a House version.

Go deeper: Elizabeth Warren on the issues, in under 500 words