Note: The comment period closed on June 17, 2022. The comment section is therefore now longer open. We are leaving rest of the toolkit published for reference.
The Left is weaponizing corporate America—and our investments—as a tool to advance their radical ideology. Biden’s new Climate Disclosure Rule enacted by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) uses financial disclosure rules to drive down returns for investors and drive up prices for customers while inserting the Left’s political agenda into every corporate boardroom.
With Biden’s new climate rule, the Left aims to:
Increase their power over America’s businesses, including small businesses.
Advance their Green New Deal agenda and eliminate the American oil and gas industry.
Create a “social credit score” for corporations (often referred to as “ESG”).
ESG stands for environmental, social, and governance responsibility policies, which can be used to score and rate companies. Forcing ESG disclosures will pressure companies to side with the Left’s political agenda and take positions on policy issues that may have nothing to do with the company’s actual business activities.
A Burdensome Regulation
This rule hurts investors and businesses, including small businesses. And it harms the American people by using their investment money to advance an un-American political agenda.
Biden’s new financial regulation requires businesses to include information about climate change in their registration statements and annual reports. Businesses have to assess how climate change could impact their business, operations, or financial condition. This includes determining the company's greenhouse gas emissions–and even the emissions of businesses, including small businesses, that the company buys from or sells to. Companies would even have to disclose how often their boards talk about climate change.
This information will be used by activist investors to make it more expensive for businesses large and small to offer many of the products and services that make American life possible, including especially the production of reliable, affordable energy. It would give an immense advantage to “green” companies and would pressure more companies to “go green”, despite the impacts on the consumer. Companies, including small businesses, with low ESG scores will eventually find themselves denied loans, access to banking services, and even removed from major stock exchanges.
The burden of compliance will prove crushing to many businesses, forcing many to close shop or dedicate revenue to a phalanx of lawyers. The agency admits that the rule single-handedly more than doubles the cost of compliance for regulated companies. Those costs are first be passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices and subsequently passed onto investors in the form of lower returns.
Companies already disclose certain climate-related information under normal securities laws and regulations. This rule requires mandatory disclosure of immaterial, highly uncertain, and highly subjective information.
Ultimately, the regulation simply feeds an army of well-paid consultants, lawyers, accountants, and lobbyists who will provide compliance advice to large public companies subject to these rules, while the American worker and investor are left in the dark.
Heritage Foundation: Using Financial Regulation to Fight Climate Change: A Losing Battle
The rule was been published in the Federal Register for the public to comment.
Congress has given the SEC no authority over climate policies, which the SEC lacks expertise to assess. Neither the SEC nor banking regulators have the technical expertise to evaluate climate science and the relative accuracy of climate models. Without that expertise, the SEC is in no credible position to assess the accuracy of disclosures regarding economic models on the supposed impact of climate change. Congress entrusted the SEC with ensuring that companies do not defraud investors–not with setting U.S. climate policy.
The Biden administration is increasing the number of bureaucratic jobs, not helping American investors. The requirement would feed the regulatory swamp and increase the host of economists, accountants, attorneys, and compliance officers that live off the need for companies to comply with vague, burdensome regulations.
More regulation drives inflation. The cost for businesses to comply with this rule would be massive. These costs would be largely passed on and paid for by investors and consumers, causing prices to increase, as well as making it more difficult to save for retirement.
The rule would penalize American communities. The rule would shift resources away from companies that do not “go green” fast enough, making it harder for these companies to expand or even sustain their current operations. They would be forced to lay off workers, especially devastating American communities that have long provided the country with the oil and gas on which Americans rely.
This rule would hurt the American oil and gas industry. Americans are already paying over $5 a gallon to fill up at the pump. Biden needs to end his war on American energy independence.
Biden’s climate rule is driving adoption of ESG “social credit scores” for companies. In China, social credit scores are used by the government to control individuals—what they can say, where they can work, when they can travel, etc. In America, ESG social credit scores for companies could be used to restrict banking, loans, and even access to the stock exchanges. Cutting off a company from financial capital will be used as a tool to force compliance with the Left’s “woke” and “green” agendas.