SEC Seeks to Impose Costly, Ideologically-Driven Climate Regulations on U.S. Corporations

Working through the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Biden administration is quietly but persistently implementing global warming (aka “climate change”) regulations that will force U.S. corporations to implement costly audit and control procedures for a wide range of CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions that result from their company’s operations.

We are witnessing a bureaucratically imposed restructuring of capitalism to comply with an ideologically driven Net Zero Emissions (NZE) policy. The restructuring aims to impose neo-Marxist “public good” restraints on private corporations through White House-issued executive orders and federal agency rulemaking, not congressional legislation. Suppose the SEC is successful in this effort. In that case, the U.S. will join the European Union (EU) in hamstringing U.S.-based corporations with profit-inhibiting accounting requirements certain to constrain profitability—all in pursuit of a demonization of CO2 that fact-based climate science fails to support. The impact on the Earth’s climate will be minimal, but the effects on the U.S. economy could be devastating.

On March 21, 2022, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) proposed rule changes requiring U.S. corporations to disclose an exhausting amount of climate-related information detailing CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions. While the SEC expects to issue the final rule this spring, a draft filed in the Federal Register last summer drew nearly a nearly unprecedented 15,000 comments. According to a survey taken by Workíva (an internet platform for financial reporting, ESG [Environmental, Social, and Governance], audit, and risk) and PwC (accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers) of 300 executives at U.S.-public companies with at least $500 million in annual revenue, four in ten executives reported their companies are not ready to comply with the SEC’s complicated and costly proposed climate accounting rule changes.

Image: Paperwork by pressfoto.

The SEC’s proposed climate regulations trace back to a complex set of globalist arrangements that arose from the Financial Stability Forum (FSF) that the G7 finance ministers and central bank governors created in April 1999 at a meeting in Bonn, Germany, “to promote international financial stability,” as recommended by Hans Tietmeyer, then President of the Deutsche Bundesbank. At the 2009 G20 Pittsburg Climate Summit, the Financial Services Bureau (FSB) was established as the successor organization to the FSF. On January 28, the FSB established itself as a not-for-profit organization under Swiss law, with its headquarters in Basel, Switzerland. In 2015, the FSB created the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) to develop consistent international rules for private corporations to report climate-related financial information “to support investors, lenders, and insurance underwriters in appropriately assessing and pricing a specific set of risks—risks related to climate change.” Chaired by former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, the TCFD has developed a voluntary set of recommendations that the EU has incorporated into its regulatory framework demanding TCFD-compliant NZE climate-sensitive financial reporting from all EU corporations.

The SEC is now attempting to implement the TCFD climate-sensitive financial reporting requirements for U.S.-based corporations. In 2017, the TCFD issued its final recommendations for the financial disclosure accounting regulations requiring corporations to report the full impact of their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The TCFD regulations define “Scope 1, 2, and 3” GHG emissions. According to Deloitte, the international audit and consulting company based in London, England, Scope 1, 2, and 3 GHG emissions are defined as follows:

Scope 1 Emissions: GHG emissions that a company makes directly, “for example, while running its boilers and vehicles.”

Scope 2 Emissions: GHG emissions a company makes indirectly, “like when the electricity or energy it buys for heating and cooling buildings, is being produced on its behalf.

Scope 3 Emissions: GHG emissions not associated with the company itself, but from organizations in its value train, “for example, from buying products from its suppliers, and from its suppliers when consumers use them.

According to PwC, Scope 3 GHG emissions pose a “daunting task” for supply chain managers. While Scope 3 GHG emissions comprise 65-95% of most companies’ carbon impact, Scope 3 GHG emissions are outside a corporation’s direct control, making tracking and reporting them “devilishly complicated.” PwC commented that one global consumer goods company that PwC advises “had a supply chain that included thousands of suppliers—and tens of thousands stock-keeping units (SKUs).” When accountants cannot get an exact measure of GHG emissions, the TCFD allows corporations to use the standardized GHG Protocol, developed by the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD).

The primary justification for the SEC seeking to implement the TCFD’s GHG emission reporting requirements appears to be an executive order President Biden signed on January 27, 2021, seven days after taking office. That executive order is entitled “Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad.”

The order appears to accept as a proven, indisputable truth that we must sharply curtail the use of hydrocarbon fuels. The SEC’s climate regulations accept as scientific fact the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warning that failure to cut global CO2 emissions significantly, the world would register a 1.5°C increase above preindustrial levels between 2030 and 2050. The IPCC pronounced that failure to meet these targets would produce catastrophic climate change consequences. The first sentence of Biden’s executive order reads: “The United States and the world face a profound climate crisis.” The executive order put the climate crisis “at the center of U.S. foreign policy and national security.”

CO2 is a trace molecule in the atmosphere, measuring only about 380 parts per million (ppm) in Earth’s vast atmosphere. In other words, for every million air molecules, only 380 are CO2. The hysterical climate left demonizes CO2 because burning hydrocarbon fuels emits CO2. If climate activists were genuinely concerned about reducing greenhouse gases, they would seek to reduce the water vapor in the atmosphere. Water vapor constitutes approximately 70 percent of all greenhouse gases on Earth. If the true agenda were to prevent global warming, the new climate audit regulations the SEC is promulgating would seek to reduce atmospheric water vapor, not CO2. The truth is that the neo-Marxists who control today’s cabal of globalist NGOs seek to arm unelected bureaucrats with the regulatory structure needed to dramatically reduce (if not eliminate) the use of hydrocarbon fuels. The increasingly apparent goal of the radical climate left is not to save the planet but to deprive the world’s advanced industrial economies of the abundant, cheap energy upon which they depend.

Since 2004, Jerome R. Corsi has published over 30 books on economics, history, and politics, including two #1 New York Times bestsellers. In 1972, he received his Ph.D. from the Department of Government at Harvard University. His book, Volume I in his Great Awakening Trilogy, The Truth About Energy, Global Warming, and Climate Change: Exposing Climate Lies in an Age of Disinformation, received highly positive reviews from prominent climate scientists. Volume II, The Truth About Neo-Marxism, Cultural Maoism, and Anarchy: Exposing Woke Insanity in an Age of Disinformation, is scheduled for publication on November 14, 2023. Dr. Corsi has resumed podcasting on his new website, which is now on the Internet in its first development phase.

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