What You Need To Know About The New SEC Guidance on Climate Change Disclosure
By Jerry J. Burgdoerfer, Gabrielle Sigel, William L. Tolbert, Jr., Elaine Wolff, and Lee E. Dionne
On February 2, 2010, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) issued guidance, in the form of an interpretive release (the “Release”), as to a public company’s disclosure requirements on climate change issues. The SEC puts companies on notice that it will review the effect of the Release on companies’ filings through its disclosure review program. This Release should be considered in the context of the SEC staff’s recent reminders that their review will look beyond the four corners of a company’s SEC filings, including considering disclosures in a company’s earnings calls, earnings releases, website and press releases. The SEC expects to hold a public “roundtable” on climate change disclosures in the spring of 2010.
SEC Issues New Guidance Regarding Climate Change Disclosures
By Jerry J. Burgdoerfer, Gabrielle Sigel, William L. Tolbert, Jr., Elaine Wolff, Lee E. Dionne
At an open meeting held January 27, 2010, the Securities and Exchange Commission voted to issue an interpretive release (the “Release”) to provide guidance on existing climate change disclosure obligations. Specifically, the Commission’s discussion identified four categories of information about climate change that companies should consider disclosing:
January 2010 Update: Climate Change
the impact of legislation and regulation;
the impact of international accords;
the indirect consequences of regulation or business trends; and
the physical impacts of climate change.
By Gabrielle Sigel and Jennifer L. Cassel
Federal Legislative Developments
Obama Calls for Comprehensive Energy and Climate Bill in Address to Nation
On January 27, 2010, in his first State of the Union address, President Obama reiterated his desire to see a comprehensive energy and climate bill adopted in the coming year. In his speech, Obama tied such legislation to job creation, providing examples of “green jobs” and emphasizing that, “to create more of these clean energy jobs, we need more production, more efficiency, more incentives.” Among the programs Obama espoused are the construction of new, “safe, clean” nuclear power plants; “continued investment in advanced biofuels and clean coal technologies,” and the passage of a “comprehensive energy and climate bill with incentives that will finally make clean energy the profitable kind of energy in America.” While Obama did not mention the words “cap and trade” in his speech, he supported his plea for climate legislation by stating that “providing incentives for energy-efficiency and clean energy are the right thing to do for our future—because the nation that leads the clean energy economy will be the nation that leads the global economy.” Obama also indicated that he would be willing to make “tough decisions about opening new offshore areas for oil and gas development,” but only as one component of his energy plan for the country.
A green economy: What lawyers need to know
By E. Lynn Grayson
A media buzz surrounds the politically charged concept of developing a green economy by investing in initiatives that are good for the environment and financially beneficial for business.