As the Democratic presidential candidates espouse increasingly liberal views towards fighting climate change, the idea of forcing companies to disclose how their business would be affected by climate change is causing major pushback from industries such as oil and gas.


Because global warming is now a key issue for Democratic voters, the many Democratic presidential hopefuls have all espoused some sort of liberal plan to combat climate change. Most of these plans are similar to the Green New Deal sponsored by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-New York) or contain identical elements, such as a promise to reach zero net emissions by 2050, taxes on emissions, regulations on oil and gas production and various other goals.

One specific idea that has been promoted by many of the top candidates is to require companies to inform the public of the danger that climate change holds for their business. This concept, which is supported by candidates such as Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Jay Inslee and Beto O’Rourke, would task the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) with forcing companies to provide information on how global warming would affect the success of the business. The details to be provided would include potential vulnerability to a decrease in demand for fossil fuels, emissions regulations and the effects of physical climate change.

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This requirement poses a threat to many companies that have fossil fuel-related assets. If companies such as Exxon were forced to describe how harmful a sudden decrease in oil demand would be as well as the possibility of such a decrease happening, it is highly likely that many of its shareholders would want to invest their money in a less vulnerable company. This would be a boon towards the renewable energy sector, as their SEC reports would show that they would benefit from emissions regulations and decreases in the demand for fossil fuels, painting clean energy companies as both environmentally friendly and economically sound.

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