Thursday, January 28, 2010

Maybe the Silliest Government Decision Ever

Today's Wall Street Journal has an article (subscription may be required) detailing the new decision by the Securities and Exchange Commission,

to encourage companies to disclose the effects of climate change on their businesses.
SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro, an Obama appointee, said the agency wasn't weighing in on the climate debate and wanted to ensure that investors get reliable information.

OK, let me get this straight: Climate evolves over decades and centuries and they want businesses to "disclose" (which implies they know) the "effects of climate change on their businesses" (which means they would have to forecast the weather decades and centuries into the future with a high degree of certainty).

The article goes on to say,

Meredith Cross, director of the SEC's corporation-finance division, defended the move, saying large investors wanted the information.
"Investors have a fundamental right to know which companies are well positioned for the future and which are not," said Anne Stausboll, chief executive of the California Public Employees' Retirement System, or Calpers, the nation's largest public pension fund.
Insurance companies are among those affected by the SEC action. The agency said insurers may want to consider disclosing whether severe weather or changes in sea levels might increase the risk of claims in coastal regions.
The SEC also said companies should weigh disclosure on how pending rules or laws might affect the bottom line. For example, it noted, goods that produce significant greenhouse-gas emissions might see lower demand.
Peter DeSimone, the director of programs at the Social Investment Forum, said his group will ask the SEC "to intervene and enforce ... in cases where we see there's a clear lack of disclosure."

So, to know which companies are "well-positioned" one (to make the point a second time) would have to know the weather decades and centuries into the future.

And, for there to be a "clear lack of disclosure," it means there has to be something (like an accurate 15-year weather weather forecast) to disclose.

I don't write about politics.  So, let me say in a non-partisan manner: This decision is just dumb.

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