Energy & Environment — SEC pushes back climate risk rule comment deadline

AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

A financial regulator allows more time for public comment on a climate risk proposal, California reaches for the sky on offshore wind and the Interior Department funds nearly 50 water infrastructure projects.

This is Overnight Energy & Environment, your source for the latest news focused on energy, the environment and beyond. For The Hill, we’re Rachel Frazin and Zack Budryk. Someone forward you this newsletter? Subscribe here.

SEC extends deadline for public comments

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) extended how long the public will have to weigh in on a proposal that would require companies to reveal their vulnerabilities and contributions to climate change.

What would it require? In a Monday press release, the SEC said that people will now have until June 17 to comment on the proposal, which would require publicly traded companies to tell investors how climate-related risks like severe weather and efforts to limit their fossil fuel use may impact their business.

It would also require publicly traded companies to disclose their own contributions to climate change, by making them reveal information about how much their activities directly add to climate-warming emissions. If it is deemed “material” to investors, companies would also have to disclose emissions they indirectly cause, such as those that come from using their products.

For many industries such as fossil fuel companies and automakers, emissions from the use of their products may make up a greater share of their climate contributions than their operations.

SEC Chair Gary Gensler said in a statement that it would extend the proposal’s comment period due to “significant interest” from investors and others.

“Commenters with various views have noted that they would benefit from additional time,” he said. “I’m pleased that the public will have additional time to provide thoughtful feedback.”

Not everybody’s happy: The long-awaited March climate proposal has been hit with criticism from both sides of the aisle.

Republicans have argued that the rule is overly broad and goes against the agency’s mission to “protect investors; maintain fair, orderly, and efficient markets; and facilitate capital formation.”

Meanwhile, progressives have said that the requirements surrounding indirect emissions are not comprehensive enough and contain loopholes that could let companies off the hook.

Read more from Rachel.

California reveals offshore wind targets

California’s energy regulator has unveiled an ambitious set of off wind targets as part of a broader statewide push to make electricity 100 percent renewable by 2045.

Approximately 3 gigawatts of offshore wind should be powering the state’s grid by 2030 — enough to power about 3 million average homes in the state, the California Energy Commission determined.

An additional 7-12 gigawatts should be available by 2045 — boosting the state’s total offshore wind capacity to about 10-15 gigawatts by that time, according to a draft report published Friday.

They’ve got their work cut out for them: The report also acknowledged that California has upwards of 21.8 gigawatts of offshore wind capacity, with the potential for greater technological developments to boost production over the next few decades.

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