SEC on Climate Change Disclosure -- What?

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Jan 27, 2010 5:53 pm

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An irreverent Wall Street Blog
by Bill Singer
 

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SEC Refuses to Admit or Deny Climate Change (but provides guidance)
Written: January 27, 2010



Truly, this one you have to read to believe.  If it were not so pathetic and absurd it would hysterical.


Please visit this link http://sec.gov/news/press/2010/2010-15.htm and read the Securities and Exchange Commission's (SEC's) January 27, 2010, press release: SEC Issues Interpretive Guidance on Disclosure Related to Business or Legal Developments Regarding Climate Change.  I would particularly call your attention to these two paragraphs:




The interpretive release approved today provides guidance on certain existing disclosure rules that may require a company to disclose the impact that business or legal developments related to climate change may have on its business. The relevant rules cover a company's risk factors, business description, legal proceedings, and management discussion and analysis.


"We are not opining on whether the world's climate is changing, at what pace it might be changing, or due to what causes. Nothing that the Commission does today should be construed as weighing in on those topics," said SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro. "Today's guidance will help to ensure that our disclosure rules are consistently applied."


Did you get all of that?


Okay, so . . . what?  I mean, what the hell was that all about?  Huh??


Chair Schapiro tells us that the interpretive release is not "opining" on whether the world's climate is changing. She further informs us that the SEC doesn't have a view as to whether there is a given pace of the non-opined climate change -- and, for extra measure -- she underscores that the SEC won't opine as to the causes of the alleged climate change, which, may or may not actually be occurring but at a speed that, well, you know, the SEC won't comment on.  As if the silliness of the press release wasn't enough, we are then admonished that the SEC's non-opining should not be construed as weighing in on the topics on which it has no opinion. 


While I'm not sure we are going from the sublime to the ridiculous, I think this trip is close enough. Notwithstanding the laughable hyperbole, the SEC's Chair writes straight-faced (okay, so that's my inference) that the non-opined climate change position of the SEC somehow constitutes "guidance" that will "help to ensure" that the regulator's disclosure rules are consistently applied.  Geez, thanks to all those SEC geniuses for clearing this climate change issue up.


Only in government would an idiotic release of this type be prepared -- and then, to make matters worse, transmitted to the public!  If there is any comfort that I take from this nonsense, it's that the SEC must finally have stamped out fraud on Wall Street if it has such spare time on its hands to churn out interpretive releases about climate change disclosure.


OFFICIAL DISCLAIMER BY BROKEANDBROKER.COM:


The above blog entry was approved today by Bill Singer, Esq., the publisher of BrokeAndBroker.com in order to provide guidance on certain existing SEC disclosure rules that may require a company to disclose the impact of those interpretive releases on various business or legal developments related to the guidance so provided by the federal regulator.  The above blog entry has reviewed the SEC's press release from the comprehensive perspective of risk factors, business description, legal proceedings, and management discussion and analysis


BrokeAndBroker.com is not opining on whether the SEC's Interpretive Release is credible, at what pace the SEC's guidance should be implemented by companies, or whether there were valid climate change concerns prompting the publication of the release. Nothing that BrokeAndBroker has published in this blog today should be construed as weighing in on those topics. Today's BrokeAndBroker.com commentary about the SEC's climate change interpretive release will help to ensure that our readers consistently apply the SEC's proposals, even thought the SEC is uncertain whether the underlying climate change concerns are valid.


Similarly, Bill Singer, Esq. will not opine on whether there is a Tooth Fairy, an Easter Bunny of Santa Claus, or whether such non-opined characters transport themselves from and to various locales, or whether there is a rational basis for believing or not believing in such characters.  However, nothing herein should be construed as admitting or denying the existence of such characters.  BrokeAndBroker.com believes that this non-opining policy is consistent with its goal of providing guidance to its readers.


Jan 28, 2010 11:00 am

Hey, just curious.  Are you related to Steven Singer?  at Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann LLP.  I ran across his name doing a search about a BAI lawsuit.