Prior to President Donald Trump taking office, there was a push to require oil and gas companies to inform their investors about the risks of climate change. As governments step up efforts to regulate carbon emissions, the thinking goes, fossil fuel companies’ assets could depreciate in value over time.
The Securities and Exchange Commission, for example, was probing how ExxonMobil discloses the impact of that risk on the value of its reserves. And disclosure advocates have been pressing the agency to take more decisive action.
Now that Republicans control Congress and the White House, will the SEC reverse course? And should it?
The Trump administration’s apparent skepticism regarding climate change may portend such a change in direction. And Congress’ decision to roll back transparency rules for U.S. energy companies in the Dodd-Frank Act suggests transparency policy more broadly is being loosened.