Nature > Natural Disasters

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Mr. Sakai Ando, Mr. Francisco Roch, Ursula Wiriadinata, and Mr. Chenxu Fu
Financial markets will play a catalytic role in financing the adaptation and mitigation to climate change. Catastrophe and green bonds in the private sector have become the most prominent innovations in the field of sustainable finance in the last fifteen years. Yet, the issuances at the sovereign level have been relatively recent and not well documented in the literature. This Note discusses the benefits of issuing these instruments as well as practical implementation challenges impairing the scaling-up of these markets. The issuance of these instruments could provide an additional source of stable financing with more favorable market access conditions, mitigate the stress of climate risks on public finances and facilitate the transition to greener low-carbon economies. Emerging market and developing economies stand to benefit the most from these financial innovations.
Mr. Serhan Cevik and Fedor Miryugin
Climate change is an existential threat to the global economy and financial markets. There is a large body of literature documenting potential macroeconomic consequences of climate change, but firm-level empirical research on how climate change affects the performance of firms remains scarce. This paper aims to close this gap by empirically investigating the impact of climate change vulnerability on corporate performance using a large panel dataset of more than 3.3 million nonfinancial firms from 24 developing countries over the period 1997–2019. We find that nonfinancial firms operating in countries with greater vulnerability to climate change tend to experience difficulty in access to debt financing even at higher interest rates, while being less productive and profitable relative to firms in countries with lower vulnerability to climate change. We confirm these findings with alternative measures of climate change vulnerability. Furthermore, partitioning the sample reveals that these effects are significantly greater for smaller firms, especially in high-risk sectors and countries and countries with weaker capacity to adapt to and mitigate the consequences of climate change.
Mr. Alessandro Cantelmo, Nikos Fatouros, Mr. Giovanni Melina, and Mr. Chris Papageorgiou
This paper analyzes monetary policy regimes in emerging and developing economies where climate-related natural disasters are major macroeconomic shocks. A narrative analysis of IMF reports published around the occurrence of natural disasters documents their impact on important macroeconomic variables and monetary policy responses. While countries with at least some degree of monetary policy independence typically react by tightening the monetary policy stance, in a sizable number of cases monetary policy was accommodated. Given the lack of consensus on best practices in these circumstances, a small open-economy New-Keynesian model with disaster shocks is leveraged to evaluate welfare under alternative monetary policy rules. Results suggest that responding to inflation to an extent sufficient to keep inflation expectations anchored, while allowing temporary deviations from its target is the welfare maximizing policy. Alternative regimes such as strict inflation targeting, exchange rate pegs, or Taylor rules explicitly responding to economic activity or the exchange rate would be welfare-detrimental.
Mr. Rodolfo Maino and Drilona Emrullahu
Fragile states in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) face challenges to respond to the effects of climate shocks and rising temperatures. Fragility is linked to structural weaknesses, government failure, and lack of institutional basic functions. Against this setup, climate change could add to risks. A panel fixed effects model (1980 to 2019) found that the effect of a 1◦C rise in temperature decreases income per capita growth in fragile states in SSA by 1.8 percentage points. Panel quantile regression models that account for unobserved individual heterogeneity and distributional heterogeneity, corroborate that the effects of higher temperature on income per capita growth are negative while the impact of income per capita growth on carbon emissions growth is heterogeneous, indicating that higher income per capita growth could help reduce carbon emissions growth for high-emitter countries. These findings tend to support the hypothesis behind the Environmental Kuznets Curve and the energy consumption growth literature, which postulates that as income increases, emissions increase pari passu until a threshold level of income where emissions start to decline.
Eric M. Pondi Endengle, Seung Mo Choi, and Ms. Pritha Mitra
This paper assesses the impact of climate-related disasters on medium-term growth and analyzes key structural areas that could substantially improve disaster-resilience. Results show that (i) climaterelated disasters have a significant negative impact on medium-term growth, especially for sub-Saharan Africa; and (ii) a disaster’s intensity matters much more than its frequency, given the non-linear cumulative effects of disasters. In sub-Saharan Africa, electrification (facilitating irrigation) is found to be most effective for reducing damage from droughts while improved health care and education outcomes are critical for raising resilience to floods and storms. Better access to finance, telecommunications, and use of machines in agriculture also have a significant impact.
Mr. Tanai Khiaonarong, Mr. Harry Leinonen, and Ryan Rizaldy
Major operational incidents in payment systems suggest the need to improve their resiliency. Meanwhile, as payment infrastructures become more digitalized, integrated, and interdependent, they require an even higher degree of resilience. Moreover, risks that could trigger major disruptions have become more acute given the rise in power outages, cyber incidents, and natural disasters. International experiences suggest the need to strengthen reliability objectives, redundancies, assessment of critical service providers, endpoint security, and alternative arrangements
Mr. Simon Black, Koralai Kirabaeva, Ian W.H. Parry, Mr. Mehdi Raissi, and Karlygash Zhunussova
This paper discusses a comprehensive strategy for implementing Mexico’s climate mitigation commitments. Progressively increasing carbon prices from current levels of US$3 per ton to US$75 per ton by 2030 would achieve Mexico’s mitigation pledges, while raising annual revenues of 1.8 percent of GDP and cumulatively averting 11,600 deaths from local air pollution. The carbon price would raise fossil fuel and electricity prices, imposing burdens of 2.7 percent of consumption on the average Mexican household. However, recycling carbon pricing revenues would offset most of this burden, and targeted transfers could make the reform pro-poor and pro-equity. Additionally, the economic efficiency costs of carbon pricing (0.3 percent of GDP in 2030) are more than offset by local air pollution and other domestic environmental benefits (before even counting climate benefits). Mexico would need a more ambitious 2030 target if it were to follow many other countries in adopting a midcentury ‘net-zero’ emissions target. To enhance the effectiveness of the mitigation strategy, carbon pricing can be reinforced with sectoral instruments, such as feebates in the transport, power, industry, building, forestry, extractive, and agricultural sectors. Complementary policies are also needed to support public investment in the clean energy transition.
Mr. Tamim Bayoumi, Mr. Saad N Quayyum, and Sibabrata Das
The paper analyzes the impact of natural disasters on per-capita GDP growth. Using a quantile regressions and growth-at-risk approach, the paper examines the impact of disasters and policy choices on the distribution of growth rather than simply its average. We find that countries that have in place disaster preparedness mechanisms and lower public debt have lower probability of witnessing a significant drop in growth as a consequence of a natural disaster, but our innovative methodology in this paper finds that the two policies are complements since their effectiveness vary across different disaster scenarios. While both are helpful for small to mid-size disasters, lower debt—and hence more fiscal space—is more beneficial in the face of very large disasters. A balanced strategy would thus involve both policies.
Mr. Serkan Arslanalp, Mr. Robin Koepke, and Jasper Verschuur
This paper proposes an easy-to-follow approach to track merchandise trade using vessel data and applies it to Pacific island countries. Pacific islands rely heavily on imports and maritime transport for trade. They are also highly vulnerable to climate change and natural disasters that pose risks to ports and supply chains. Using satellite-based vessel tracking data from the UN Global Platform, we construct daily indicators of port and trade activity for Pacific island countries. The algorithm significantly advances estimation techniques of previous studies, particularly by employing ways to overcome challenges with the estimation of cargo payloads, using detailed information on shipping liner schedules to validate port calls, and applying country-specific information to define port boundaries. The approach can complement and help fill gaps in official data, provide early warning signs of turning points in economic activity, and assist policymakers and international organizations to monitor and provide timely responses to shocks (e.g., COVID-19).