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Press Release

New Report Warns That Insufficient Capacity at The SEC Might Limit its Role In the Fight Against Climate Change

WASHINGTON -

Today, the Revolving Door Project released its SEC Climate Capacity Report examining the detrimental impact of capacity shortfalls on the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)’s climate work. This report is the second installment of its Climate Finance Capacity Project. The Climate Finance Capacity Project explores the power and responsibility that each of the Financial Stability Oversight Council’s member agencies has to address the climate crisis and consider how resource limitations threaten to limit their impact. 

This report outlines how climate change impacts the SEC’s work and the agency’s contribution to addressing the impact of environmental degradation on the economy. The SEC monitors and addresses the effects of climate change on the market by reviewing climate-related disclosures. More recently, the agency is looking to launch a variety of new climate initiatives, designed to better fulfill its responsibility to track and mitigate climate-related financial risk. However, as stated in the report, the SEC’s climate efforts will fail to reach their full potential without sufficient staffing levels. On several occasions, the SEC has acknowledged the discrepancy between the size of its workforce and the markets it regulates. 

Despite it being clear that the SEC needs to boost its workforce and funding, the White House’s proposed budget increase falls short of what would be necessary to keep pace with the growth in its regulated markets. The report concludes with a series of recommendations that will hopefully enable the SEC to better fulfill its climate responsibilities. Namely, increasing funding to avoid harmful policies like hiring freezes, amending hiring procedures to make it less time-consuming, and investing in career development opportunities to better support existing employees. 

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The Revolving Door Project (RDP), a project of the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), scrutinizes executive branch appointees to ensure they use their office to serve the broad public interest, rather than to entrench corporate power or seek personal advancement.

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