On October 2, 2009, as part of the 48th Annual Corporate Counsel Institute held at Northwestern University School of Law, SEC Commissioner Elisse B. Walter gave a speech entitled “SEC Rulemaking — ‘Advancing The Law’ To Protect Investors.” In her speech, Commissioner Walter touched upon the SEC’s recent work with respect to climate change disclosures, and her belief that climate change is a very serious issue. The full text of that speech can be seen by clicking here.
According to the Commissioner, the SEC is taking a serious look at its climate change disclosure system, and is taking affirmative steps to educate its employees on climate issues. The SEC has also engaged in discussions with climate change experts concerning the risks and opportunities posed by climate change.
The Commissioner noted that “if I were drafting disclosure for a registrant today, I would carefully consider whether that company’s particular facts and circumstances raise any disclosure obligations under the current rules, and in particular, under the MD&A requirements.”
This comes at a time when the NAIC is preparing to implement its Insurer Climate Risk Disclosure Survey. The Survey contains a set of 8 questions that inquire about insurers’ risk assessment and management efforts in addressing climate change. According to the NAIC, the objective is for mandatory disclosure by applicable insurers for financial reporting year 2010 for insurance groups that meet or exceed direct written premium of $300 million.
On December 9, 2009, the Climate Change and Global Warming Summit will be held in conjunction with the Winter NAIC meeting. The tentative agenda includes breakout sessions covering four areas: investments; best practices in mitigation, such as pay-as-you-drive (PAYD) and “green” building; climate scientists and risk modelers; and, disclosure issues related to insurance company and SEC responses.