SEC Issues Climate Chaos “Guidance”

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What about risks from anti-energy policies imposed in the name of stopping climate change?

President Obama continues to use “dangerous manmade climate change” to justify a massive regulatory onslaught that will “fundamentally transform” America’s energy, economic, business, industrial, social, legal and constitutional systems before he leaves office.

The more science batters alarmist claims, the more people realize that plant-fertilizing carbon dioxide makes life on Earth possible, the more China, India and other developing countries burn oil, gas and coal and increase their CO2 emissions to lift billions out of poverty, malnutrition, disease and brutally short lives – the more the administration issues draconian climate edicts.

US PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA DELIVERS REMARKS ON EFFORTS TO REDUCE CARBON POLLUTION AND THE EFFECTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE

Almost every department, agency and bureaucrat that didn’t eagerly volunteer has been dragooned to aid the campaign: from the EPA and Agriculture, Interior, Defense and State Departments, to the Overseas Private Investment Corporation. The Securities and Exchange Commission is the latest agency to re-up.

Pressure from climate and environmental activist groups “persuaded” the SEC to release its initial “interpretive guidance” on climate change in January 2010. It purported to help companies decide when they must disclose how their business might be affected by actual physical climate change, by direct impacts from laws, regulations or international agreements, or indirectly by effects on business trends.

In March 2016, the Commission told ExxonMobil and Chevron they had to let shareholders vote on whether the companies must explain how their profitability might be affected by climate change and laws to prevent it. Both resolutions were rejected, but proponents vowed to return as often as it takes to win.

On April 13, 2016, the SEC published a 341-page Concept Release intended to “seek public comment” on ways to modernize, improve and enhance Regulation S-K business and financial disclosure requirements for registered companies’ annual and other reports. It asks whether new specific disclosure requirements should be added to ensure greater transparency and aid investors in determining whether companies are being socially responsible, properly handling diversity and inclusion concerns – and adequately addressing needs and risks associated with climate change, resource scarcity and sustainable development.

Many people certainly view these as legitimate concerns. They certainly are on the minds of certain investors and interest groups – especially CERES, Environmental Defense, and the California State Teachers and Public Employees Retirement Systems, all of which seek to advance their narrow parochial interests on climate change, “appropriate” energy, and particularly taxpayer subsidies for their favorite causes and cronies. The issues are certainly being used to drive Obama Administration agendas.

However, prudent investors (as well as employees, consumers and voters) might want greater disclosure, transparency and honesty regarding the full panoply of risks associated with laws and regulations imposed in the name of stabilizing Earth’s always-unstable climate and weather … mandates, preferences and subsidies enacted to support “eco-friendly” wind, solar and biofuel “alternatives” to oil, natural gas and coal  … and campaign contributions that keep supportive legislators and judges in office.

War on coal

This climate crisis edifice owes its existence to assertions that fossil fuel emissions have replaced natural forces in climate change, and any future changes will be disastrous. As those claims are further debunked, or enough voters and legislators become disgusted about the $1.5 trillion spent every year on climate crisis programs, the risks won’t come from climate change. They will come from a vengeful public.

No wonder Al Gore, Mike Mann and their comrades refuse to debate, jealously guard their kingdom, and chortle as state AGs prosecute “climate deniers” for racketeering. Prudent investors might want to study these issues in greater depth and raise a few questions that Obama’s SEC prefers not to entertain.

* As scientist John Christy told Congress in February, the climate agenda is driven by data that have been massaged and manipulated, assertions and predictions that are contradicted by Real World data and observations, and “demonstrably deficient” computer models that predict global temperatures way above what have actually been measured, and cannot even reproduce past temperatures. Climatology remains an immature science that cannot even explain major historical climate events, much less predict the future.

Those problems are compounded by phony “hockey stick” temperature graphs, ClimateGate emails, once reputable scientific journals rejecting papers that contest climate catastrophe claims, and headline-grabbing disaster “studies” that are based on rank speculation or written by environmental activists.

Are the alleged physical impacts of climate change real, or merely generated by computers and activists? Are they due to fossil fuels, or to natural forces that have driven climate and weather throughout history?

* Regardless of how much the United States, Europe and other developed countries slash their fossil fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions, developing nations will continue using those fuels at a feverish pace. Atmospheric CO2 concentrations will thus continue to climb beyond the 400 ppm (0.04%) level. Job losses, reduced living standards and countless other sacrifices by Americans, Europeans, Canadians and Australians – especially by poor, working class and minority families – will not affect this trend.

epa coal

Will we even be able to detect the effect of developed nation sacrifices on Earth’s climate, against normal, natural fluctuations? Why aren’t we measuring the harmful effects of anti-fossil fuel laws, regulations and treaties? How are these policies and actions moral, socially responsible or sustainable?

* Many positive profit projections and other indirect benefits to business trends are based on assertions that manmade climate chaos is real and massive subsidies for renewable energy will continue. Negative effects on profits and corporate reputations are assumed to result from associations with fossil fuels.

But if governments begin to reject climate alarmism or eliminate mandates, subsidies, guaranteed loans, feed-in tariffs and exemptions from endangered species laws, companies built on this house of cards will collapse. A number of EU and Chinese wind and solar companies have already gone belly-up or lost up to 90% of their market value, as demand for their products waned. Meanwhile, companies now vilified for producing or using fossil fuels that sustain our economies, jobs and living standards would benefit.

Coal, oil and natural gas still provide over 80% of all US and global energy. Largely because of abundant natural gas produced via fracking. US CO2 emissions declined in 2014, while the EU’s rose 0.7 percent.

Shouldn’t wind turbine companies have to disclose that generating just 20% of US electricity with wind power would require some 186,000 turbines, 19,000 miles of new transmission lines, 18,000,000 acres of land, and 270,000,000 tons of concrete, steel, copper, fiberglass and rare earths, plus millions of dead birds and bats every year? Is that sustainable?

Shouldn’t insurance companies and reinsurers have to “disclose” that their higher rates and profits are based on 20-foot higher sea levels and more violent hurricanes conjured up by bogus computer models? Doesn’t that amount to deceptive advertising, fear-mongering and corporate social irresponsibility?

* If President Obama and the SEC are going to demand full disclosure, honesty, transparency and accountability, those fundamental principles should also apply to government officials. They rarely do.

Justice Department lawyers have knowingly lied to judges in immigration cases. Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice, Ben Rhodes and other officials have been caught in multiple bald-faced lies. The IRS deliberately targeted conservatives, and then destroyed records and lied about its actions. EPA bungled a mine cleanup, polluted waterways in four states and lied about the impacts. NOAA and EPA have engaged in systematic misrepresentations and data manipulation on climate change. No one has been punished.

The impacts on company profits, investors, employees, families and communities have been extensive. Government agencies want more and more power and control over our lives – but refuse to accept any accountability for incompetence, malfeasance, deliberate lies or the serious harm they cause.

This is why Americans are fed up. Perhaps the 2016 elections will finally bring long overdue change.

Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org) and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power – Black death. © May 2016

About Author

PAUL DRIESSEN is senior policy adviser for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) and Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), public policy institutes that promote environmental stewardship, the enhancement of human health and welfare, and personal liberties and civil rights. He writes and speaks frequently on the environment, energy and economic development, malaria eradication, climate change, human rights, corporate social responsibility and sustainable development. His articles have appeared in newspapers and magazines and on news and opinion websites in the United States, Canada, Germany, Italy, Peru, Venezuela, South Africa, Uganda, Bangladesh and many other countries. Driessen’s book, Eco-Imperialism: Green Power - Black Death, documents the harm that restrictive environmental policies often have on poor people, especially in developing countries, by restricting their access to life-enhancing modern technologies. It is in its second US printing and has also been published in Argentina (Spanish), India (English), Germany (German) and Italy (Italian). He was editor for Energy Keepers - Energy Killers: The new civil rights battle, by CORE national chairman Roy Innis; Rules for Corporate Warriors: How to fight and survive attack group shakedowns, by Nick Nichols; and Creatures, Corals and Colors in North American Seas, by Ann Scarborough-Bull. His report, Responsible Progress in the Andes, examined ways that modern mining operations can bring jobs, infrastructure, and improved safety and pollution control practices to poor communities. Driessen’s studies and analyses have also appeared in Conserving the Environment (Doug Dupler, editor), Resurgent Diseases (Karen Miller, Editor) and Malnutrition (Margaret Haerens, editor), all part of the Thomson-Gale “Opposing Viewpoints” Series that is used in many high schools and colleges; Redefining Sovereignty: Will liberal democracies continue to determine their own laws and public policies, or yield these rights to transnational entities in search of universal order and justice? (Orin Judd, editor); and other publications. He played a lead role in the “Kill Malarial Mosquitoes Now” campaign, an international effort that restored the use of DDT to African and other malaria control programs, and served as an advisor to the film “3 Billion and Counting,” examining how environmentalist and EPA campaign against DDT had devastating impacts on families in poor developing countries. Paul received his BA in geology and field ecology from Lawrence University and a JD from the University of Denver College of Law, before embarking on a career that also included tenures with the United States Senate, U.S. Department of the Interior and an energy trade association. He has produced documentary films about the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, immigration through Ellis Island, and marine habitats beneath offshore oil production platforms. Driessen is also a frequent guest on radio talk shows and college campuses, and at business and public policy forums. He participates in energy, health and environmental conferences, and was active in the Public Relations Society of America, where he served as Washington, DC chapter newsletter editor and in the Social Responsibility Section.

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