Economy

This is how much the new SEC climate disclosure rules will cost your company

By David Callaway, Callaway Climate Insights

(Bill Sternberg is a veteran Washington journalist and former editorial page editor of USA Today.)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Callaway Climate Insights) — Shortly after the Securities and Exchange Commission approved its landmark climate disclosure plan last month, I asked SEC Chair Gary Gensler how much it would cost companies to comply with the new regulations.

Gensler, who was more interested in talking about how the proposed rules would help investors, ducked the question, referring me instead to the 506-page document. Sure enough, buried inside the proposal is a lengthy “benefits and costs” discussion, which I read so you wouldn’t have to.

The benefits of mandating corporate disclosure of greenhouse gas emissions and climate risks are easily expressed: Investors would gain access to climate-related information that is more consistent, reliable and accessible than what’s currently available. Companies that haven’t measured their carbon footprints, or considered their vulnerability to extreme weather, would be required for the first time to do so.

The costs, which haven’t received much attention, are harder to summarize. But they are crucial for a couple of reasons. . . .

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