SEC to issue guidance on climate change disclosure

January 29, 2010

On Wednesday, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) approved the issuance of interpretive guidance respecting existing SEC disclosure requirements that apply to business or legal developments relating to climate change. While the guidance has yet to be published by the SEC, a speech by SEC Commissioner Luis A. Aguilar suggests that the SEC's release will clarify the responsibility of companies to discuss (i) the direct effects of existing and pending environmental regulation, legislation and treaties on a company's business, operations, risk factors and in MD&A; (ii) the indirect effects of such regulation on a company's business; and (iii) the effect on a company's business and operations related to the "physical changes to our planet caused by climate change". Commissioner Aguilar also suggested that companies should know their emissions information in order to evaluate risks and focus on investors when considering the materiality of information.

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