Entrepreneurship applies to public policy. It is not enough to just have the superior intellectual case. Against the Malthusian juggernaut, creativity is required to get past the gatekeepers of deceit and what today is called the cancel culture.
Milloy is truing the debate and achieving transparency with corporations that are “greenwashing” in the climate debate. The initiative is told in an August 13, 2019, Press Release, “E&E Legal Petitions SEC to Address Problem of Registrants Making False and Misleading Climate Change Statements,” reprinted below.
Today, the Energy & Environment Legal Institute (E&E Legal) petitioned U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to take action to prevent and prohibit registrants from making false and misleading statements with respect to global climate change. The petition was authored by E&E Legal’s Senior Policy Fellow and JunkScience.com founder Steve Milloy.
“Almost everyone can make false and misleading statements with virtual impunity,” Milloy observed, “except if you are the CEO of a publicly-owned company. As Tesla’s Elon Musk recently discovered via a $20 million fine and other legal sanctions, the SEC takes false and misleading statements by CEOs very seriously.”
The petition is based on a number of undisputed facts and realities including:
“But when businesses talk about climate and their own related actions, none of this reality is reflected in their typically untethered statements and claims,” Milloy said. Companies routinely boast of cutting emissions to address climate change. “But regardless of your view of climate science, the companies are not actually addressing climate change in the least as the claimed emissions cuts are mere inconsequential drops in the bucket.”
The petition cites four examples of this sort of climate “greenwashing.”
“All of these corporate claims are false and/or misleading,” said Milloy. “To the extent investors are making decision based on such claims, they are being defrauded,” Milloy emphasized.
The SEC first issued climate guidance to US companies in 2010. But that guidance only applied to disclosure regarding business risks from climate change. Since then, US companies have evolved from merely disclosing risks to their businesses to dubious marketing use of their climate actions as advertising points.
“If a company wants to talk about climate, that’s fine, but they must do so in a manner consistent with the full disclosure and anti-fraud provisions of the federal securities laws,” said Milloy, formerly an SEC attorney and mutual fund manager. “The false and misleading posturing must stop and it is the SEC’s job to issue appropriate guidance to companies,” Milloy added.
Earlier this year, the SEC Division of Corporation Finance upheld Milloy’s position in related shareholder proposals he filed against electric utilities Duke Energy and Exelon. “It was encouraging that the SEC upheld my proposals in the face of blatantly false and misleading statements made by Duke and Exelon,” said Milloy. “Now it is time for the SEC to take action applicable to all public-owned companies,” he concluded.
The above initiative scored its first victory just last week. The Junk Science website reported:
First Energy Corp., one of the largest electric utilities in the US, has agreed to make certain climate disclosures in exchange for Steve Milloy withdrawing his climate disclosure-related shareholder proposal.
Milloy’s shareholder proposal requested that First Energy disclose to shareholders the costs and benefits of its voluntary emissions cuts.
The agreement between Milloy and First Energy begins on May 31, 2021 and covers the next three years.
It requires that First Energy disclose on its web site its annual emissions as a percentage of global emissions.
“I applaud First Energy for being the first company in the world to agree to present its emissions in the larger context of global emissions,” Milloy said.
“This is an important first step in getting companies to discuss honestly the insignificance of their emissions cuts,” Milloy added.
For more on this topic, read Milloy’s petition to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission requesting action to stop corporate lying on climate.
There is much to come with E&E Legal’s initiative. MasterResource will follow this issue. Suffice it to say that mineral-based energies and consumer preferences are winning in the domestic and global marketplace–and current efforts to artificially reduce CO2 are doomed to failure–but very wasteful nonetheless.