Oregon Treasurer: Global Warming Affects State Investments

Concerns over global warming aren't the exclusive domain of environmentalists these days. The Oregonian reports that Oregon State Treasurer Randall Edwards is pushing for the SEC to require companies to disclose how they could be affected by climate change:

Oregon Treasurer Randall Edwards joined environmentalists, institutional investors and financial officers from other states Tuesday in formally petitioning securities regulators to force publicly traded companies to disclose the emerging risks they face from global warming.

The coalition also asked the Securities and Exchange Commission to immediately scrutinize the adequacy of companies' climate change disclosures under existing laws.

The group maintains that most companies haven't been giving investors the full story on their climate change risks, whether it's a bank or insurance company looking at more extreme weather events or a utility facing potentially expensive climate change regulations.

Edwards hopes that the disclosures will help protect the state's investments:

Edwards said climate change has become a basic fiduciary responsibility as his department makes investment decisions.

"This is just the beginning step of better corporate oversight and governance on an issue that is going to have major implications for all of us," Edwards said. "We're not talking about divestiture; we're talking about disclosure so the marketplace can make better decisions."

The coalition of buttoned-down financial types with environmental activists such as the Environmental Defense Fund shows how mainstream global warming is becoming in the investment world.

"None of the state officials or institutional investors are taking this step because they want to be seen as green or politically correct," said Peyton Fleming, a spokesman for Ceres, a Boston-based coalition of environmental organizations and investors. "It's a bottom-line business issue that will affect their portfolios in the years ahead."

Read the rest.


  • Emily George (unverified)

    This is helpful.

    But perhaps more interesting -- and something to ask anybody running to be the next State Treasurer -- is if the Treasurer has an even stronger role as a member of the state investment council steering investements towards sustainable, carbon-neutral (or at least not carbon-abusing) businesses and out of investments in oil and coal companies that are key contributors to global warming (and who continue to fund anti-global warming propaganda).

    <h2>Of course, the Investment Council controls money that is a combination of state money and pension money, so the answer may be different depending on what fiduciary duties are involved.</h2>
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