Significance and Use
Uses—This guide is intended for use on a voluntary basis by a reporting entity that provides disclosure in its financial statements regarding financial impacts attributed to climate change. The degree and type of disclosure depends on the scope and objective of the financial statements. This guide is intended to apply to U.S. and international operations at the discretion of the reporting entity. The user should be aware that there may be contractual obligations, court decisions, or regulatory directives that may affect the flexibility in use of this guide. The user should also maintain an awareness of international regulations that may be relevant to disclosures, such as those of the International Accounting Standards Board and International Financial Reporting Standards.
The following principles are an integral part of this guide and are intended to be referred to in resolving any ambiguity or dispute regarding the interpretation of financial disclosures regarding financial impacts attributed to climate change.
Uncertainty Not Eliminated—Although a reporting entity, as of the time when its financial statements are prepared, may have evaluated the existence and extent of financial impacts attributed to climate change, there remains uncertainty with regard to the final resolution of factual, scientific, technological, regulatory, legislative, and judicial matters, which could affect its financial impacts attributed to climate change. These uncertainties cannot be eliminated. While this standard recommends the development of reasonable scenarios or ranges to recognize and address uncertainties, it is unlikely that all climate change uncertainties will be foreseeable. However, it is likely that some financial impacts attributed to climate change are foreseeable and that alternatives, boundaries, or ranges of potential impacts can be assessed and quantified.
Comparison with Subsequent Disclosures—Subsequent disclosures that convey different information regarding the extent or magnitude of the reporting entity's financial impacts attributed to climate change should not be construed as indicating the initial disclosures were inappropriate. Disclosures shall be evaluated on the reasonableness of judgments and inquiries made at the time and under the circumstances in which they were made. Subsequent disclosures should not be considered valid standards to judge the appropriateness of any prior disclosure based on hindsight, new information, use of developing analytical techniques, or other factors. However, information on trends between disclosure years may be of value to a user of financial statements.
Not Exhaustive—Appropriate disclosure does not necessarily mean an exhaustive disclosure. There is a point at which the cost of obtaining information or the time required to gather it outweighs the usefulness of the information and, in fact, may be a material detriment to the orderly preparation of financial statements and the ability of readers to understand the information contained therein. However, all relevant and reasonably ascertainable information should be used to determine the content of appropriate financial impacts attributed to climate change.
1.1 Purpose—The purpose of this guide is to provide a series of options or instructions consistent with good commercial and customary practice for climate change-related disclosures accompanying audited and unaudited financial statements. This guide encourages consistent and comprehensive disclosure of financial impacts attributed to climate change.
1.2 Objective—The objective of this guide is to determine the conditions warranting disclosure and the content of appropriate disclosure.