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Politico’s E&E News: SEC climate rule draws comment cacophony

By Avery Ellfeldt

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A wonky climate proposal by the Securities and Exchange Commission has caught the attention of powerful lobbying associations, climate groups, academics, egg farmers — and even a climate-finance-concerned high school student.

The SEC proposed the landmark rule in March, kick-starting U.S. efforts to shield the financial system from climate-fueled threats. If finalized, the rule would for the first time require publicly listed companies to disclose to investors, regulators and the public their risks from — and contributions to — global warming.

The proposal’s three-month comment period on the nearly 500-page rule ends today. Already, more than 8,000 comments from a wide range of organizations and individuals have been posted to the SEC website. More letters, including from influential trade groups and companies, will be posted in the coming days from those who waited until the last minute to respond.

But the comments that already have been published make clear where different types of organizations will likely fall on the rule’s most controversial provisions — and the tough road ahead for the SEC as it forges the final version.

Observers say the comments are critical because they offer a snapshot into how opponents might challenge the rule in the courts down the road and what evidence the agency will have in its arsenal to defend itself.

“Our goal is to see this rule implemented. And therefore our efforts went toward ways to show this rule is perfectly within the SEC’s mandate,” said Tracey Lewis, who serves as policy counsel at Public Citizen, a progressive group…

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