The S.E.C. moves closer to enacting a sweeping climate disclosure rule.

Securities regulators in the United States are moving closer to enacting a sweeping new rule that would require all publicly traded companies to report more information to investors about the impact of their activities on climate change and the creation of greenhouse gases.

The Securities and Exchange Commission is considering the much-anticipated climate disclosure rule at a meeting Monday morning. It has been a centerpiece in the regulatory agenda of Gary Gensler, the commission’s chairman, and a longtime demand of climate advocates. The commission could vote on the measure at the meeting.

The proposed rule is a big step toward holding companies accountable for their role in climate change and giving investors more leverage in forcing changes to business practices that have contributed to rising global temperatures.

The public will have the opportunity to comment on the proposed rule for at least 60 days. If approved, it would set up a reporting framework requiring all companies to begin providing information about the climate-related impact of their businesses in their annual reports and stock registration statements.

The rule, which has been in the works for over a year, already has provoked opposition from some business trade groups and may be challenged in court — something that could delay its effective date. The S.E.C. has sought to get ahead of the anticipated opposition by pointing out that the commission has been issuing guidance to companies about disclosing information on the environmental impact of their businesses for several decades.

Regulators have said the rule builds on guidance it issued in 2010 for companies with regards to disclosing information on climate change. The S.E.C. took that action around the same time the Environmental Protection Agency began requiring some large companies to compile data on the emission of greenhouse gases, which scientists have linked to a rise in global temperatures and climate change.

“Over the generations, the S.E.C. has stepped in when there’s significant need for the disclosure of information relevant to investors’ decisions,” Mr. Gensler said in a statement accompanying the announcement of the new rule.

Some companies, like Apple, Facebook and Microsoft, report their greenhouse gas data extensively, and have set dates by which they want to have zero carbon emissions overall. Many other companies have started to disclose at least some of their emissions.

Christopher Flavelle and Peter Eavis contributed reporting.

Source: NY Times