OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin has joined Republicans in opposing a proposed rule by the Securities and Exchange Commission that would compel companies to disclose climate-related risks.
“In that sense, one could argue that the proposed rule aims to solve a problem that does not exist,” Manchin said. “Further, to suggest that any and all public companies have the resources and capabilities to capture this data is shortsighted.”
“Forcing this rule on companies has the potential to not only impose undue financial hardships but also to erode public trust, especially if less-resourced companies are unable to accurately report this data,” he added.
“Not only will these companies face heightened reporting requirements on account of their operations, but they will also be subjected to additional scrutiny for the Scope 3 emission disclosures of other companies that utilize their services and products,” Manchin added.
“The West Virginia Democrat expressed his opposition to the plan in a Monday letter to SEC Chairman Gary Gensler. He told Gensler that the rule, which creates guidelines for how and what companies must report to investors about the emissions their companies are responsible for, might not be needed given that the overwhelming majority of major corporations already file sustainability reports that include information about climate risks,” the Washington Examiner reported.
The Examiner reported:
The SEC classifies a corporation’s emissions into three categories called scopes. Scope one is a company’s direct emissions, scope two refers to its indirect emissions (such as those involved in the use of electricity), and scope three measures the emissions from other entities, such as suppliers or customers along a company’s value chain.
Under the SEC plan, the scope three reporting requirement, the most divisive, is set to be phased in gradually and includes carve-outs based on the size of a company. Scope three disclosures would also just apply to companies that consider such emissions to be “material” to investors.
Manchin, who represents coal country, said that the “most concerning” aspect of the SEC proposal is that it appears to be taking direct aim at fossil fuel companies.
Republican Sen. Pat Toomey, the ranking member of the Banking Committee, branded the rule as a “thinly-veiled effort” to circumvent Congress.
“Complex political issues like global warming and energy security require tradeoffs. In a democratic society, those tradeoffs must be made by elected representatives who are accountable to the American people,” the Pennsylvania Republican said in a statement.
The American Securities Association has also expressed opposition to the proposed rule.
Joe Manchin opposes SEC climate disclosure rule, says it targets fossil fuel companies https://t.co/oP8nXNiyfr
— CNBC (@CNBC) April 4, 2022
Manchin joins GOP in opposing SEC climate disclosure proposal https://t.co/qHLU8cp3bE
— Bobby Council (@racouncil) April 4, 2022