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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.