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To: Interested Parties

From: Unlocking America’s Future

RE: Right wing attacks on the SEC’s climate disclosure rule

Date: March 21, 2024

When the SEC announced its new climate risk disclosure rule earlier this month, many organizations released statements of support for this important step forward for investors wanting to make informed decisions about their money. However, across the country, anti-responsible investing politicians and wealthy special interests have filed lawsuits, attempting to block the rule. Below is a summary of notable legal action. 


  • Ten Republican states attorneys general filed a lawsuit in the 11th Circuit on the same day the SEC approved the new rule on March 6. West Virginia and Georgia led the suit supported by Alabama, Alaska, New Hampshire, Indiana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Wyoming and Virginia.
  • Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas filed suit on March 8 in the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. Louisiana Attorney General Liz Murrill said in a statement that the SEC rule violated the first amendment, was unconstitutional, and would result in higher costs passed onto the consumer.
  • Finally, nine more red-state attorneys general led by Iowa filed suit on March 12 in the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals. They are joined by the attorneys general of Missouri, Arkansas, Idaho, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota and Utah, as well as the American Free EnterpriseChamber of Commerce.
  • These attorneys general have accepted a whopping $9.2 million in campaign donations from wealthy special interests 


  • Liberty Energy and Nomad Proppant Services – two fracking companies – filed a suit in the 5th Circuit on March 6th
  • The Chamber of Commerce, Texas Association of Business, and Longview Chamber of Commerce filed a separate suit in the 5th Circuit.
  • The Texas Alliance of Energy Producers and the Domestic Energy Producers Alliance also filed their own suit in the 5th Circuit.

Where are we now?

The 5th Circuit has temporarily halted the climate risk disclosure rule. Meanwhile, congressional Republicans are organizing a vote using the Congressional Review Act in an attempt to overturn the SEC’s rule.

What to know: 

Climate disclosure requirements are increasingly becoming a global precedent, and without the SEC disclosure rule America will fall behind countries – including China – that have established requirements.

  • In April 2022, Canada introduced mandatory climate disclosures for banks and insurance companies set to take effect in the beginning of 2024.
  • In January 2023, the European Union’s Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive entered into force, establishing new rules to ensure that “investors and other stakeholders have access to the information they need to assess the impact of companies on people and the environment and for investors to assess financial risks and opportunities arising from climate change and other sustainability issues.”
  • In an effort to keep up with global competitors ahead of the curb, China announced in February 2024 it would establish requirements for more than 400 companies to publish sustainability reports by 2026.

Climate disclosure requirements support the bedrock of America’s financial system – transparency – and investors demand and deserve reliable risk-related disclosures from companies.  

  • Investors need consistent, reliable, and comparable disclosures from companies to determine if companies are meeting stated climate commitments – doing so will subsequently protect the financial security of hard working Americans.
  • Shortly after the SEC released its initial proposal, nearly 200 investment firms, nonprofits, and State Treasurers sent a joint letter reaffirming support for the rule and outlining imperatives for the standard transparency requirements.
  • Just a few days after the SEC released the proposed ruling, global investment firm Franklin Templeton, which oversees more than $1.5 trillion in assets under management, issued its own statement of support. The firm noted that “climate risk disclosure needs to be standardised, mandatory and regulated in the same way as financial reporting to ensure it is timely, accurate, complete and verified…If information is the oxygen of financial markets, then the SEC has just provided a welcome blast of fresh air that can revitalise capital allocation for the benefit of all.”
  • A report from The Brookings Institution outlined how transparency has been the bedrock of America’s financial system, and argued the “consequences of climate change are creating new and growing forms of financial risk that investors need to consider when choosing how to prudently allocate capital.”
  • Research groups have pointed out that America’s current voluntary disclosure environment is expensive for both issuers and investors, hindering decision-making and effective capital investments. Instituting the SEC’s proposed climate disclosure ruling, they argue, would improve the reliability and quality of the disclosures more broadly.

Americans overwhelmingly and across party lines support the SEC’s transparency requirement on climate, and they agree financial managers should be empowered with this information.

  • Two-thirds of voters (80% of Democrats, 65% of Independents, and 55% of Republicans) support the proposed SEC rule, and a majority of Americans support responsible investing.
  • More than half of voters, including 52% of Republicans and 63% of Independents, oppose Congress putting limits on these kinds of disclosures.
  • A majority of voters agree that financial managers should be allowed to consider environmental factors when making investing decisions.