Friday 21 September, 2018

Jamaica among small states most vulnerable to climate change - Moody's

Moody’s ratings agency has listed Jamaica among several small island states deemed to be most vulnerable in a report on the credit implications of climate change.

Moody’s says the assessment is based on a number of factors including Jamaica’s “very low resilience due to low income levels and the government’s limited fiscal flexibility.”

Among the other countries listed are Fiji, the Solomon Islands, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines which Moody’s says are exposed because of their very small economies, heavy reliance on agriculture or sea-based tourism, frequent natural disasters and low income levels.

In the case of The Bahamas and Maldives which are also listed in the report, Moody’s says their high exposure is partly mitigated by higher income levels.

The analysts, led by Christian Fang, make a distinction between two effects of climate change - shocks such as floods and storms, and trends like rising sea levels and global warming.

They say medium-term vulnerabilities are factored into island sovereigns’ credit ratings. This means single climate shocks don’t have credit implications unless they are much more serious than the assessments of exposure and resilience suggest.

“However, the slow, unfolding nature of climate trends and uncertainty over the specific effects and mitigating actions imply that climate change could have credit implications in the longer term,” the analysts wrote in the report published Tuesday, December 5

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