Malaysia and China are ’exemplars’ and governments of Bangladesh, Malaysia and the Philippines are ’strongly committed’

Commitment on climate policy in the emerging world is strongest in countries most vulnerable to the impacts of global warming and in those with effective governments, but weakest in those reliant on fossil-fuel income, according to new analysis by Oxford Analytica and WTW.

Of 62 nations and territories assessed in the WTW Political Risk Index, the governments of Bangladesh, Malaysia, the Philippines, Chile, and Senegal are most strongly committed to prioritising climate when making public policy.

On a regional average basis, Asian countries tend to have strong policymaking practices and effective bureaucracies capable of carrying out political goals. Exemplars are Malaysia and China, which rated highly on the strength of their well-developed climate transformation plans.

Driver of political risk

“Climate has always been a driver of political risk,” said Stuart Ashworth, managing director and head of political risk for corporates at WTW, “and in extreme cases food and water are being weaponised for political reasons. Understanding a country’s vulnerability to climate shocks will be increasingly important for investors.”

In Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso, for instance, erratic weather patterns and rising global food prices are contributing to food insecurity in regions already prone to violence.”

New statistical research identified three factors that correlate significantly with the subjective ratings assigned:

  • Vulnerability. Governments in emerging-world countries with greater vulnerability to the impacts of climate change appear to show greater commitment to policies such as emissions reduction
  • State capacity. Countries with a more effective civil service also appear to show greater commitment to climate policy
  • Oil and gas income. Countries that earn more from fossil fuels appear to show lesser commitment to climate policy