Report ranks nations’ vulnerability to climate change

The report weighs nations’ sensitivity to risks and then factors in the ability to adapt to them. “The least vulnerable economies are Germany, the U.K., Argentina, Russia and Turkey, although both Russia (on agriculture) and Turkey (on water and agriculture) could experience severe sectoral impacts,” it finds.

Another takeaway: climate change will cut total grain production in the G-20 by as much as 8.7 percent by 2020, at a cost of up to $28 billion annually. The U.S. is among the hardest hit nations here, HSBC concludes.

Back on Capitol Hill, a separate research note by FBR Capital Markets looks at EPA’s formal finding Monday that greenhouse gas emissions threaten human health and welfare, which is a precursor to emissions rules the agency can craft without congressional approval.

“Ultimately, we believe that the threat of EPA regulation of greenhouse gases will enable a consensus for passing cap-and-trade in 2010,” they write. “However, there are numerous growing complications, including the ‘hacked e-mail’ controversy, a crowded Congressional agenda, and continued concern about the economy.”

“As such, we believe that investors must take seriously the possibility that Congress will fail to act and that the EPA will move forward with regulation,” they add.