Tuesday, October 2, 2007

The Staff Attorneys of the SEC Deserve a Raise

Following on the heels of Ceres call for SEC requirment of corporate disclosure of Global Warming risks, below (covered by the WSJ,The Climate For Investing, Or Vice Versa and here SEC Pressed on Climate-Change Disclosures and When will Warren Buffett get on Board the Love Train?* at CI), comes Steve Milloy's call for disclosure of the risks of climate change regulation.

Although the intent of the '33 act is disclosure, I'm not sure that Joe Kennedy foresaw the political uses his baby would be twisted to. Let's bump all the SEC attorneys up a GS grade as this get's hashed out.

From the press release:

The Securities andExchange Commission (SEC) should take immediate steps to requirepublicly-owned corporations to reveal the potential harm caused by globalwarming regulations on earnings and shareholder value, concluded a studyreleased today by the Free Enterprise Education Institute (FEEI).

The report, "Failure to Disclose: Businesses Lobbying for GlobalWarming Regulation Keep Shareholders in the Dark," finds that manycorporations supporting greenhouse gas regulations have failed to warnshareholders about the harmful consequences these regulations pose tofuture earnings.

Surprisingly, only five of the twenty-one members of the U.S. ClimateAction Partnership (USCAP), a lobbying group supporting global warmingregulation and cap-and-trade schemes, have disclosed in their annual SECfilings that limits on greenhouse gas emissions pose a business risk.

From the paper "Failure to Disclose: Businesses Lobbying for Global Warming RegulationKeep Shareholders in the Dark" (6 page PDF)

...Support for global warming regulation is already causing a series of unintended consequences for USCAP members. Congress and the state of California, for example, are considering legislation to ban the incandescent light bulb and force consumers to purchase compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs).

Because USCAP member GE manufactures CFLs in China, it now faces labor problems with its U.S. employees who make incandescent bulbs. To educate the public about the threats CFLs pose to their jobs, GE employees established a web site6 and protested at the 2007 annual shareholder meeting.

Moreover, GE’s investment in increasing the efficiency of incandescent bulbs is jeopardized by the legislative bans.

GE also has a business interest in coal – a major source of carbon dioxide emissions. Not only does GE manufacture turbines for traditional coal-fired power plants, it is also developing Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) technology – a system for capturing carbon dioxide from coal-fired electricity plants.

Although GE needs greenhouse gas regulations to drive growth for IGCC, its entire coal business is threatened by special interest groups that are using the global warming issue to advocate an outright ban on coal-fired power plants. Recent pressure from special interest groups resulted in the cancellation by TXU Corp. of eight coal-fired power plants the company planned to build. Because of the cancellation of the coal-fired power plants caused, TXU cancelled its orders with GE for steam turbine generators.

...Under an ideal cap-and-trade scenario, these companies can meet or fall below their carbon dioxide allocations by moving their energy intensive operations overseas and then selling their excess credits for profit. Alcoa and Dow Chemical are already shifting operations away from the U.S. to countries with cheaper energy.

And here, from Environmental Defense:
Letter to Division of Corporation Finance, SEC [PDF]
Coalition Asks SEC for Climate Risk Disclosure
Petition to SEC to Clarify Climate Risk Disclosure [PDF]
Give the SEC staff a bump, they're already underpaid ( I know it's a good resume buff, but still) by 50 t0 85%. Now all this.