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Over on, John wrote that recent signs from Capitol Hill indicate support for including Scope 3 emissions in the SEC’s final GHG disclosure rule may be weakening. John said:

“The Jim Hamilton Blog recently flagged the competing efforts of Democrats & Republicans on Capitol Hill to influence the substance of the SEC’s climate disclosure rules. Republicans continue to fixate on questioning the SEC’s authority to adopt these rules as proposed, while this excerpt indicates that some Democratic lawmakers continue to push hard for Scope 3 disclosures:

  • ‘Democrat lawmakers’ recent letter to the SEC specifically addressed another topic the SEC may be mulling as it finalizes the climate risk disclosure regulation—Scope 3 emissions, or what might be considered the proverbial electrified third rail of climate disclosure. The Democrats’ letter said overall that they want the SEC to move forward with a “strong climate disclosure rule without delay.”
  • While the letter worried about the SEC potentially raising the threshold for disclosure (the proposal pegged the threshold at 1 percent of the specified line-item financial metric), the letter was even more concerned about the prospect that the SEC could weaken or even eliminate Scope 3 emissions disclosures from the final regulation.'”

He concluded with this observation:

“But with recent reports suggesting that political support for Scope 3 disclosures among Democrats may be on the wane, perhaps it’s worth noting that the letter was signed by only eight senators and 43 members of Congress. That’s a lot fewer than the 130+ Dems who signed an earlier letter supporting the SEC’s rulemaking last summer.”

It is possible we won’t have too much longer to wait. As John wrote at the beginning of this year, the SEC is looking to issue a final climate disclosure rule in April 2023 according to its Reg Flex agenda. Even so, he cautioned about relying too much on that date:

“Whenever we blog about these Reg Flex Agenda dates, we always point out that they are by no means etched in stone. That being said, the only major item on the last edition of the SEC’s Reg Flex Agenda where final action was postponed was the agency’s climate change disclosure proposal.  So, it looks like could be in for a veritable ‘bomb cyclone’ of rulemaking over the next few months.”

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The Editor

Lawrence Heim has been practicing in the field of ESG management for almost 40 years. He began his career as a legal assistant in the Environmental Practice of Vinson & Elkins working for a partner who is nationally recognized and an adjunct professor of environmental law at the University of Texas Law School. He moved into technical environmental consulting with ENSR Consulting & Engineering at the height of environmental regulatory development, working across a range of disciplines. He was one… View Profile