An In-Depth Review of the SEC Proposed Climate Change Disclosure Rule

25 April 2022
View Debevoise In Depth
Key takeaways:
  • The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) released its long-awaited proposed rule on the “Enhancement and Standardization of Climate-Related Disclosures for Investors” (the “Proposed Rule”), which is intended to require “consistent, comparable, and decision-useful information” on climate-related disclosures, on March 21, 2022. The Proposed Rule would apply to SEC registrants, including all public companies.
  • Under the Proposed Rule, there would be new, often prescriptive, climate-related disclosure requirements added to Regulation S-K, which primarily governs qualitative disclosures, and Regulation S-X, which governs financial statements and other financial disclosures. In general, these disclosures would address various climate-related risks to the registrant’s business, operations and financial condition, including disclosure of a registrant’s greenhouse gas emissions and its management of physical and transition risks.
  • The Proposed Rule largely reflects expectations but, in some areas, is more expansive than many predicted. For example, for certain registrants, the Proposed Rule would require the disclosure of greenhouse gas (the “GHG”) emissions by all entities in a registrant’s value chain and the submission of attestation reports regarding GHG emissions.
  • The SEC has requested comment on the Proposed Rule by May 20, 2022. The Proposed Rule is expected to receive hundreds, if not thousands, of comments, and there may be legal challenges after the final rule is adopted.