Gensler Hints at Climate Disclosure Rule Adjustments

US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chair Gary Gensler has said that the SEC will consider “appropriate” adjustments to its proposed climate risk disclosure framework. In his speech to the Financial Stability Oversight Council on 28 July, Gensler emphasised that the SEC has an important role to help ensure public companies make “full, fair and truthful disclosure about the material risks they face”, even if the Commission has no express role as to climate risk itself. The SEC is still in the process of reviewing the over 15,000 comments submitted on the delayed proposal, which is now expected later this year. Also on 28 July, the Biden administration published a proposal to update the US National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), to enable faster permitting and upscaling of both fossil fuel and clean energy infrastructure projects. The suggested changes include directing federal agencies to consider the impact of climate change on projects and how those projects protect against climate risks, including sea level rise, increased wildfire risk, and poor air quality. Brenda Mallory, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, said: “These reforms to federal environmental reviews will deliver better decisions, faster permitting, and more community input and buy-in. This rule is a key element of President Biden’s permitting reform agenda that will help us speed the build-out of our clean energy future while reducing pollution and harms in communities that have been left out and left behind for far too long.” The proposal is building off steps taken by the Biden administration to reverse changes made to NEPA under the Trump administration.  

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