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March 15, 2024

As Tennessee Families Face Devastating Consequences of Climate Change, House Republicans Travel to Tennessee to Bash Climate Risk Disclosure

To:        Interested Parties
From:  Dennis Kelleher, President and CEO (Media Contact: Anton Becker, Dir. of Communications
Date:    March 15, 2024
Re:       As Tennessee Families Face Devastating Consequences of Climate Change, House Republicans Travel to Tennessee to Bash Climate Disclosure

On Monday, Republicans on the U.S. House Financial Services Committee will hold a field hearing Entitled: “Victims of Regulatory Overreach: How the SEC’s Climate Disclosure Rule Will Harm Americans” in Lebanon, Tennessee. As detailed below, climate change is harming Tennesseans and regulators requiring climate risk disclosure will benefit them.

The hearing takes place as the Nashville area has been flagged for an increasing amount of severe storms driven by climate change. In fact, research has clearly defined Tennessee as being especially vulnerable to climate change: the U.S. Climate Vulnerability Index ranks Tennessee as the 9th most vulnerable state for overall climate damage.  A recent study by the First Street Foundation found that in Nashville, the probability for “100-year” storms, or storms with a 1% chance of happening in a given year, are four times higher than federal projections. In December 2023, a major storm on the East Coast spawned at least a dozen tornadoes that killed six people in middle Tennessee. Research has shown that human-caused climate change can be a cause of the rising prevalence of tornados in the offseason.

“With the risks of climate change materializing and escalating in Tennessee and across the country, it’s irresponsible to bash well-reasoned proposals to help disclose those risks and increase the ability of Americans to plan and respond to climate change,” said Dennis Kelleher, Co-founder, President and CEO of Better Markets. “Denying climate change and repeating the talking points of the oil and gas industry will not make the risks and consequences of the climate crisis go away. No business will be spared the impact of climate change and investors need companies to disclose their climate-related risks. This information will inform all citizens and policymakers on the impact of climate change and equip them with vital information. This is not regulatory overreach; it is regulators doing their job to protect Main Street Americans, American business, and American investors.”

A record-setting rainfall left severe damage in Waverly, Tennessee on August 22, 2021. Caroline Eggers/WPLN News

According to NOAA data, between 1980 and March 8, 2024, there were 109 confirmed weather or climate disaster events with losses exceeding $1 billion each in Tennessee, including: 64 severe storm events, 15 drought events,14 winter storm events, 8 tropical cyclone events, 4 flooding events, 3 freeze events, and 1 wildfire event.

Research shows that river flooding has been the major flood threat facing Tennessee for well over a century. The famous Tennessee Valley Authority was created in 1933 to manage the flow of water along the Tennessee Valley watershed. The intricate system of dams protects valuable farmland and large population centers from extreme flood events, but an increase in dramatic rain events still poses risk for the state. The Nashville and Memphis metro areas have the greatest number of properties at risk of flooding: about 33,000 in each or 13-14% of the total. Chattanooga has about 31,000 properties at risk, but a far higher share of its total (42%).

The SEC’s climate disclosure rule has important provisions, including requiring disclosures about the climate-related risks that are material to a company’s business strategy, results of operations, or financial condition; disclosures about a company’s activities to mitigate or adapt to a material climate-related risk, including a transition plan; and disclosures about the financial statement effects of severe weather events, including costs and losses. You can learn more about the SEC’s disclosure proposal here.

Details on House Financial Services Committee Hearing

Time: 10:00 AM CT/11:00 AM ET
Date: Monday, March 18, 2024
Place: Made in Tennessee Building, 945 E. Baddour Parkway, Lebanon, TN 37087

Additional Background on Climate Threats Facing Nashville:

Climate & ESG


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