Washington (March 21, 2022) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Chair of the Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Clean Air, Climate, and Nuclear Safety, released the following statement today in response to the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) proposed rule on climate-related disclosures for investors. Today, the Biden administration released its proposed rule that would require publicly traded companies to disclose climate-related risks and their material impact on the companies’ business. Companies would also be required to disclose Scope 1 and Scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions and provide information on climate-related targets and goals. Disclosure of Scope 3 emissions, which can come from indirect sources such as a company’s supply chain or waste disposal practices, would not be required at this time but would be phased in over several years.
“This new proposed rule from the SEC is an important step towards requiring public companies to disclose their greenhouse gas emissions,” said Senator Markey. “The public has a right to know about the potential impacts that big polluters might have on their pocketbooks. But it’s not just investors and companies that take climate change-related risks. Big polluters often pose a huge risk to the health and safety of Black and Brown communities, who, unlike investors, don’t have a big federal agency to ensure they aren’t eating the costs of the climate crisis. These communities are the ones that will be living near the facilities with dangerous emissions from breaking down waste. These communities don’t have the luxury of measuring their climate risk in a spreadsheet. It is measured in asthma attacks, cancers, and trips to the emergency room. They deserve as much protection as shareholders. I urge the SEC to expand the proposal to quickly require Scope 3 emission data, and to incorporate environmental justice considerations – such as assessments of the specific risks to these communities – into the reporting requirements. We cannot claim to be protecting all Americans from the impacts of climate change until that protection extends to the most vulnerable.”
In November 2021, Senators Markey and Merkley introduced the Fossil Free Finance Act, which would require the Federal Reserve to mandate that major banks and other Systemically Important Financial Institutions reduce and stop the financing of projects and activities that emit greenhouse gas emissions. Senator Markey also signed onto a letter last week led by Senator Whitehouse calling for increased climate lobbying disclosure requirements as part of the SEC climate disclosure rule.