World Bank President David Malpass tried to rekindle his views on climate change on Thursday when he refused to acknowledge that burning fossil fuels is warming the planet faster. Is.
In an interview on CNN International Thursday morning, Mr Malpass said he accepts the overwhelming scientific conclusion that human activity is warming the planet.
“It is clear that greenhouse gas emissions come from man-made sources, including fossil fuels,” he said. “I will not deny it.”
He also sent a memo to World Bank officials, obtained by the New York Times, in which he wrote: “It is clear that greenhouse gas emissions from human activities are causing climate change, and US consumption of coal and diesel is soaring. and heavy fuel oil in both advanced economies and developing countries is causing another wave of the climate crisis.”
It was very different from Tuesday’s when, during a public event in the New York Times, he refused to acknowledge whether burning oil, gas and coal is dangerously warming the earth.
Speaking onstage during a discussion on climate finance, Mr Malpass was asked to respond to a remark made earlier in the day by former Vice President Al Gore calling the World Bank President “climate deprivation”. When pressed three times, Mr Malpass did not say whether he acknowledged that man-made greenhouse gas emissions have exacerbated a crisis that had already resulted in more extreme weather conditions.
“I’m not a scientist,” he said.
The World Bank’s mission is to reduce poverty by lending money to poor countries to improve their economies and living standards. Credit terms are more favorable than those found in the commercial market, often at little or no cost. The bank, owned by 187 countries, finances a variety of projects, from energy to education to public health.
Mr. Malpass’s equation on the basics of climate science quickly became a hot topic in New York, where thousands of diplomats, policymakers and activists gathered for the United Nations General Assembly and a series of events known as Climate Week Were.
Many experts say the World Bank, led by Mr Malpass, is not doing enough to align its lending with international efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions and help poorer countries suffering from sea-level rise, drought and heat. Move too slowly to deal with other extreme weather conditions. The planet’s bank continues to fund oil and gas projects, despite an announcement by the International Energy Agency that countries should stop funding new fossil fuel development if there is any hope of averting the global climate catastrophe.
Understand the David Malpass controversy
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What is the dispute about? On Sept. 20, during a panel at a climate change event hosted by The Times, former Vice President Al Gore called Mr Malpass a “climate denier” and suggested removing President Biden as head of the World Bank. should work for
How did Mr Malpass react? Mr Malpass, who was present at the same event, defended his record on climate but declined to say directly whether he accepts the scientific consensus that burning fossil fuels is dangerously warming the planet. On September 22, however, he changed course and said he accepted the scientific consensus that burning fossil fuels is warming the planet.
What is Mr. Malpass’s climate record? Following his appointment as President of the World Bank, Mr. Malpass has shown restraint in discussing the environment and global warming. Since President Biden’s election, Mr. Malpass has called climate change a “big” problem. Under his leadership, the World Bank has launched some climate initiatives, although critics say a more aggressive approach is needed.
Why is his position on climate change important? The World Bank is the world’s largest development bank and has the power to finance wide-ranging economic and social projects, including climate change initiatives. As such, it has unprecedented capabilities and tools to help developing countries prepare for climate change, which is increasingly important in our warming world.
“It landed because there’s a very real debate going on about how to use all the capital that’s in the bank faster and more sustainably,” said Rachel Kayte, dean of Tufts University’s Fletcher School. Participation in the climate discussion at the United Nations this week. “It’s an open wound, and whatever it was from President Malpass, it was disappointing.”
According to people familiar with the matter, World Bank officials exchanged text messages about how Mr Malpass forged his initial reply on Tuesday, expressing disappointment that he had undermined the Bank’s work on climate initiatives.
Some speculated whether Mr Malpass would leave before his term expired in 2024. In 2019, President Donald J. Trump was appointed head of the World Bank. Although the United States traditionally elects the head of the World Bank and is its largest shareholder, removing Mr. Malpass before his term expires would require the support of the Board of Governors.
One of those governors, Jochen Flasberth, a senior economics official in Germany, reacted with alarm at Mr Malpass’s performance on Tuesday, but said Twitter “We are concerned by this misleading reference to the scientific evidence for #climatechange from the leadership of the @WorldBank.”
The reaction of many others was even more scathing.
“It’s very simple,” says Christiana Figueres, who, as head of the UN climate agency, helped negotiate the Paris climate agreement. said on Twitter On Wednesday. “You cannot lead the world’s leading international development agency if you do not understand the threat of climate change to developing countries.”
At an event on Wednesday, Mark Carney, who is leading the UN effort to get financial institutions to help reduce emissions, echoed Mr Malpass’s comments – but with a different twist. With. “I’m not a scientist,” he said. “But I took scientific advice.”
The Biden administration declined to say Wednesday whether it trusts Mr. Malpass, but stressed that the institution should play a central role in tackling climate change.
“We expect that the World Bank Group will be the world leader in climate protection and mobilize significantly more climate finance for developing countries,” said Michael Kikukawa, spokesman for the Treasury Department. “We must – and will continue to require – the leadership of the World Bank to articulate this expectation. The World Bank must be a full partner in the implementation of this global agenda.”
Activists and climate experts called for Mr Malpass to be removed.
“There is no place for climate deniers at the top of the World Bank,” said Jules Cortenhorst, executive director of the Rocky Mountain Institute and an expert on energy and climate issues. “David Malpass has to resign. The World Bank deserves a passionate leader who fully recognizes the threats to poverty reduction, improved living standards and sustainable development posed by climate change.”
It all came after Mr Gore’s comments sparked events on Tuesday morning. “We need a new head of the World Bank,” Mr. Gore told the New York Times at the event. “It’s ridiculous for the head of the World Bank to deny the climate.”
Mr. Malpass’s comments on CNN did little to calm his critics.
“At this point it is clear that he is trying to hold on to his job following yesterday’s diplomatic warning from the US Treasury Department and other shareholders,” said Luisa Abbott Galvao, senior international political activist for Friends of the Earth. “Malpass has been making climate-denying remarks for over a decade. We cannot have a situation where the President of the World Bank says nice things in public but is working behind the scenes to prevent action, and that is exactly what we have seen in his three years as President of the World Bank. ,
Tasnim Essop, Executive Director of Climate Action Network International, continued to call for Mr Malpass’s removal following his comments on CNN.
“When the World Bank’s mandate is to end poverty, it is inconsistent with continued financing of fossil fuels, which are one of the main causes of the climate crisis and have the harshest impact on those living in poverty,” she said. “His track record doesn’t show that he takes the climate crisis seriously.”
Prior to taking over the World Bank, Mr. Malpass was a Treasury Department official during the Trump administration. In this role, he has had little public comment on climate change, although comments from 2007 suggest he did not believe there was a link between carbon emissions and environmental activists concerned about global warming. His wife, Adele Malpass, is President of the Daily Caller News Foundation, a nonprofit organization closely associated with a conservative media group that frequently publishes articles and opinion pieces challenging climate science.
When Mr. Trump was president, Mr. Malpass walked a fine line and used caution to meet the bank’s climate commitments without angering his former boss. Mr Trump famously called climate change “a hoax”, pulled the United States out of the Paris Climate Agreement and promoted fossil fuels.
After President Biden took office, Mr. Malpass seemed more willing to discuss climate change publicly. On its website, the bank describes its efforts to invest in renewable energy projects and make poor countries more resilient to extreme weather conditions.
The Treasury Department oversees US relations with the World Bank. Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen has repeatedly called on Malpass and heads of other multilateral development banks to help countries invest in emissions reductions, adaptation and climate resilience and align their actions with the Paris Agreement. try more
Mr. Malpass is expected to host a town hall for World Bank staffers next week ahead of the annual meeting in Washington in October.