Lab Publications

02/21/2024 Last week, Duke Financial Economics Center (DFE) lecturing fellow, Lee Reiners, and his Research Assistant, Susan Lin, submitted a detailed comment letter to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, regarding the Commission’s December 4, 2023, request for comment on proposed guidance for the listing of voluntary carbon credit (VCC) derivative contracts on designated contract markets (DCMs).   The letter acknowledges the CFTC’s historical focus on climate-related risks… read more about Comment Letter to the CFTC Regarding the Use of Voluntary Carbon Credits in Derivatives Contracts »

11/07/2023  A new paper from Climate Risk Disclosure Lab director, Lee Reiners, explores the different approaches to regulating Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) investing in the U.S. and European Union. The rise of ESG has brought significant challenges. The lack of a universal framework for ESG evaluation makes it difficult for investors and other stakeholders to interpret performance across its three domains. Additionally, the phenomenon of "greenwashing," wherein companies make… read more about Climate Risk Disclosure Lab Paper Analyzes Efforts to Regulate ESG Investing in the U.S. and Compares these Efforts to European Union Regulations Governing ESG Investing »

Lee Reiners and Morgan Smith  On March 21, 2022, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC” or “Commission”) released a proposed rule titled “The Enhancement and Standardization of Climate-Related Disclosures for Investors.”  If finalized, the rule “would require registrants to provide certain climate-related information in their registration statements and annual reports.”  The comment period for the 490-page proposing release was originally set to end on May 20, 2022 but was pushed to… read more about Summary of Comment Letters for the SEC’s Proposed Climate Risk Disclosure Rule »

A new report published by the Climate Risk Disclosure Lab profiles the climate-related disclosure practices of three publicly traded companies and provides detailed information on the resources—in terms of time, personnel, and money—it takes to produce these disclosures. The report’s findings can inform SEC staff as they consider outstanding issues before releasing a proposed mandatory climate-related disclosure rule in early 2022. Multiple procedural requirements are necessary to successfully issue a proposed SEC… read more about Climate Risk Disclosure Lab Report Provides Real-Time Information on Current Climate-Related Disclosure Practices and the Associated Costs at Publicly Traded Companies »

The following is an edited comment letter that was submitted to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC, or Commission) on September 22nd for the invitation to comment on the proposal by the Commercial Energy Working Group to form an EEMAC carbon markets subcommittee.[1] The proposed stakeholder group would produce a report on principles for designing the derivatives and underlying cash markets for the carbon allowances and offsets that are used to manage the greenhouse gas (GHG)… read more about Comments to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission on the proposed creation of a carbon markets subcommittee of the Energy and Environmental Markets Advisory Committee »

Mario Olczykowski and Lee Reiners In a recent post, we summarized comments submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC or Commission) regarding the request for public input on climate change disclosures (RFPI) released by then Acting Chair, Allison Herren Lee on March 15, 2021. With the Commission set to release a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on climate disclosure by the end of the year, we must now consider how any new rules may best survive legal challenges, and a central… read more about Where the Rubber Meets the Road: How Can an SEC Climate Risk Disclosure Rule Survive Cost-Benefit Analysis? »

Mario Olczykowski and Lee Reiners Recognizing that “investor demand for, and company disclosure of information about, climate change risks, impacts, and opportunities has grown dramatically,” former Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC or Commission) Acting Chair Allison Herren Lee released 15 questions for consideration on March 15, 2021 “with an eye toward facilitating the disclosure of consistent, comparable, and reliable information on climate change.” The comment period ended on June 14th, and the… read more about Summary of Comment Letters for the SEC’s Climate Risk Disclosure RFI »

Posted 06/21/2021 Climate change poses serious risks to almost every aspect of the economy, and its impacts will have long-term disruptive effects on financial markets around the world. Currently, these risks are not adequately addressed by financial regulators in the United States. As a result, climate-related information is not accurately incorporated into financial markets, leaving firms, investors, and stakeholders ill-equipped to weather the inevitable effects of climate change. Recognizing that “… read more about SEC Climate Risk Disclosure Comment Letter: Executive Summary »

By: Karen E. Torrent Policy Counsel, National Whistleblower Center Prior to the global financial crisis of 2008, alarm bells rang out warning of the impending burst of the mortgage bubble. No action was taken to avert this crisis, and as a result, the U.S. lost $648 billion in economic growth, $3.4 trillion in real estate values, $7.4 trillion in stock devaluations and 5.5 million Americans jobs in a little over a year. Alarm bells are ringing once again, this time signaling the threat of an even larger… read more about U.S. Financial Regulators, Aided by Whistleblowers, Can Mitigate the Financial Risks of Climate Change Under Existing Law »

Abstract: In Brazil, public policy must comply with the National Policy on Climate Change (Law 12,187 of 29 December 2009) and observe the constitutional purpose of the Brazilian financial system, which includes serving collective interests, such as environmental protection. Therefore, the National Monetary Council (CMN), the Central Bank of Brazil (BCB) and the Securities and Exchange Commission (CVM) have a legal obligation to engage with the fight against climate change. More precisely, financial and capital markets… read more about The case for pursuing mandatory climate-risk disclosure in Brazil »

By:  Charlie Wowk, Research Assistant, Climate Risk Disclosure Lab The physical effects of climate change are wreaking havoc across the United States as extreme weather events are increasing in severity and frequency. The 2020 summer wildfires in the western U.S. broke “almost every record there is to break,” and there has been a notable increase in storm surges, sea level rise (“SLR”), heavy precipitation events, and chronic floods. The continental U.S. was hit by… read more about Burning Down the House: How Inadequate Climate Risk Disclosures and Information Asymmetries Threaten to Disrupt the U.S. Mortgage Market »

By:  Karen E. Torrent, Policy Counsel, National Whistleblower Center As the 117th Congress commences, the United States is facing several immense and immediate challenges: the COVID-19 pandemic, its resulting economic crisis, and climate change among them. Against this backdrop, the House of Representatives has made protecting whistleblowers one of their first legislative actions. Every Congress starts by passing rules that all members and staff must abide by. This year, the House rules for the… read more about 117th Congress Begins by Protecting Whistleblowers »

By Lee Reiners, Executive Director at the Global Financial Markets Center & Charlie Wowk, Research Assistant at the Global Financial Markets Center Several major announcements over the past two weeks indicate U.S. financial regulators are finally starting to take climate change seriously. The timing is no coincidence. The election of Joe Biden as our next president freed financial regulators from facing the wrath of President Trump and his acolytes for simply acknowledging that climate change is real… read more about Recent Announcements Reveal Financial Regulators are Serious about Climate Change »

By Laura Peterson, Senior Research Advisor, National Whistleblower Center The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is due to vote this year on a rule intended to increase transparency of companies that extract oil, gas, and minerals around the world. If the SEC takes the needed steps, it could make meaningful progress reducing the risk that such industries—particularly the fossil fuel industry—pose to shareholders, the environment, and the economy. Unfortunately, the rule as proposed is so vague… read more about New SEC Rule Will Not Compel Extractive Industries to Disclose Payments to Foreign Governments »

By:  Karen E. Torrent, Policy Counsel, National Whistleblower Center Building upon prior European Union (“EU”) disclosure initiatives including the 2010 Timber Regulation and the 2017 Conflict Minerals Regulation, the EU is on course to introduce a new regulation mandating the disclosure of corporate risks associated with climate, environmental, governance and human rights. The EU is proposing this due diligence and corporate accountability directive to increase public awareness about the actions – or… read more about WHAT THE E.U. DRAFT DIRECTIVE MEANS FOR U.S. COMPANIES’ CLIMATE-RELATED FINACIAL RISK DISCLOSURES »

A new report published by the Climate Risk Disclosure Lab highlights the need for a thorough, robust, and mandatory disclosure framework for climate-related information. The report exposes the failure of U.S. regulators to properly incorporate climate change into their mandates and assesses the threats that the vacuum of climate-related information poses to financial markets and the broader economy. Because there are inadequate climate-related disclosure requirements, companies are not consistently identifying,… read more about Climate Risk Disclosure Lab Report Finds that Lack of Climate-Related Disclosure Requirements Exposes Financial Markets to the Downstream Effects of Climate Change »

By:  Karen E. Torrent, Policy Counsel, National Whistleblowers Center On June 23, 2020, the Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued a proposed regulation for public comment aimed at discouraging sustainable investing in retirement plans governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”).  DOL wants to limit the ability of plan managers to consider environmental, social, and governance (“ESG”) risk factors in making investments and their ability to offer ESG funds.  See… read more about The Department of Labor Wants to Expose 401(k)s And Pension Plans to Greater Financial Risk from Climate-related Impacts »