Oregon Must Use Its Clout to Cut Pollution

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Byline: GUEST VIEWPOINT By Randall Edwards For The Register-Guard

Oregon's most valuable assets are its people, its mountains and rivers, and its oceans and forests. The effects of greenhouse gas emissions and global warming will increasingly endanger those resources if we don't hold polluters accountable.

On Tuesday I met with other state fiscal leaders at the United Nations in New York to plot our strategy on how we can use our combined $2.7 trillion worth of shareholder voting rights to hold corporations responsible for their damage to our resources.

As investors, we have come to understand that climate change is one of the greatest challenges of the 21st century. How we address risks posed by climate change to our physical world will impact our economic and environmental future.

Climate risk has become embedded, to a greater or lesser extent, in every business and investment portfolio in the United States. In order for investors to exercise appropriate judgment and for fiduciaries to act responsibly, disclosure of the potential economic risks posed by climate change is essential.

Financial markets need to better understand and acknowledge the economic challenges and opportunities that climate change will compel.

Corporations need to understand regulatory, statutory and legal efforts, internationally and domestically, aimed at regulating the emission of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

Investors are currently hampered in their ability to assess and respond to the financial risks of global warming because existing rules on disclosure relating to material liabilities are not adequately enforced, fund management firms generally are not conducting sufficiently thorough analysis, and many companies are failing to adequately disclose relevant information related to potential dangers to their long-term revenues and assets.

Investors need the assistance of their financial managers, regulatory bodies, and public policy makers, as well as the companies themselves, in making this information available and clear. …