Climate change is an existential threat to the world economy like no other, with complex, evolving and nonlinear dynamics that remain a source of great uncertainty. There is a bourgeoning literature on the economic impact of climate change, but research on how climate change affects sovereign risks is limited. Building on our previous research focusing on the impact of climate change on sovereign risks, this paper empirically investigates how climate change may affect sovereign credit ratings. By means of binary-choice models, we find that climate change vulnerability has adverse effects on sovereign credit ratings, after controlling for conventional macroeconomic determinants of credit worthiness. On the other hand, with regards to climate change resilience, we find that countries with greater climate change resilience benefit from higher (better) credit ratings. These findings, robust to a battery of sensitivity checks, also show that impact of climate change is disproportionately greater in developing countries due largely to weaker capacity to adapt to and mitigate the consequences of climate change.
Climate change is already a systemic risk to the global economy. While there is a large body of literature documenting potential economic consequences, there is scarce research on the link between climate change and sovereign risk. This paper therefore investigates the impact of climate change vulnerability and resilience on sovereign bond yields and spreads in 98 advanced and developing countries over the period 1995–2017. We find that the vulnerability and resilience to climate change have a significant impact on the cost government borrowing, after controlling for conventional determinants of sovereign risk. That is, countries that are more resilient to climate change have lower bond yields and spreads relative to countries with greater vulnerability to risks associated with climate change. Furthermore, partitioning the sample into country groups reveals that the magnitude and statistical significance of these effects are much greater in developing countries with weaker capacity to adapt to and mitigate the consequences of climate change.