Using an international sample of firms from 36 countries over the period 2002 to 2018, we investigate whether short sellers take firms’ climate risk into consideration when making investment decisions. Our empirical results show that short sellers increase their short-selling interest in firms with high carbon emission intensity but shun good carbon performers. Furthermore, the effect of climate risk on short-selling interest is more pronounced for firms operating in countries or regions that have adopted an emission trading scheme (ETS) as well as in countries characterized by higher regulatory quality and greater media pressure. We also document that short sellers in countries with stringent carbon regulations, higher environmental awareness, and superior environmental performance are more sensitive to climate risk. Our channel analyses highlight that stock overvaluation and an opaque information environment are two potential motives for short-selling interest in carbon-risky firms.

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