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Warren Bill Would Require Companies To Disclose More About Their Climate Risks

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)

U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Monday proposed legislation that would require public companies to disclose more information about their exposure to climate-related risks.

Warren's bill would direct the Securities and Exchange Commission to issue rules to require each company to detail its greenhouse gas emissions; its total amount of "fossil fuel-related assets;" how its valuation would be affected by certain climate change forecasts; and its risk management strategies related to climate change.

"Climate change is a real and present danger," the Massachusetts Democrat said in a statement, "and it will have an enormous effect on the value of company assets. Investors need more information about climate-related risks so they can make the right decisions with their money."

A fact sheet from Warren's office added that the proposed regulations would, without spending taxpayer dollars, "help the market appropriately assess the risk of climate change, which will help push private actors and government actors to act more decisively to address climate change."

The legislation's introduction comes as rain-packed Florence continues to churn through parts of the Carolinas. The storm has been blamed for at least 23 deaths as of mid-afternoon Monday, and has left hundreds of thousands without power.

Scientists say climate change makes storms like Florence bigger and more intense.

Fellow Massachusetts U.S. Sen. Ed Markey is a co-sponsor of the Climate Risk Disclosure Act.

Notably, no Republicans are listed as co-sponsors in Warren's statement. The GOP, of course, currently controls the Senate, House and White House.

The Massachusetts senator is considered a leading potential candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020, and has released some significant legislative proposals in recent weeks.

On Aug. 21, she unveiled a broad anti-corruption and government reform bill, blasting President Trump's administration in the process.

A week earlier, Warren introduced legislation that would require at least 40 percent of board of director seats at very large corporations to be selected by company employees.

In November, Warren faces a re-election fight for her Senate seat. She'll take on state Rep. Geoff Diehl, who easily won the Republican nomination earlier this month, and independent Shiva Ayyadurai.

An email to Diehl's campaign about Warren's climate disclosure bill was not returned.

Ayyadurai did not comment specifically on Warren's legislation. Instead, he passed along a video of himself, in which he explains why he believes Trump did the right thing by pulling out of the Paris climate accord, and Ayyadurai says he "exposes Warren’s exploiting of Climate Change to profit Wall Street."

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Benjamin Swasey Twitter Digital Manager
Ben is WBUR's digital news manager.

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