October 3, 2022
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World Bank’s Malpass faces calls to resign after climate change doubts

WASHINGTON — World Financial institution President David Malpass got here beneath heavy criticism on Wednesday after he declined to say whether or not he accepts the scientific consensus on world warming, rekindling issues concerning the financial institution’s lack of a deadline to cease funding fossil fuels.

Mr. Malpass appeared at an occasion hosted by the New York Instances at Climate Week in New York Metropolis on Tuesday and was requested whether or not he believes that the “manmade burning of fossil fuels is rapidly and dangerously warming the planet.” Mr. Malpass tried at first to dodge the query however later mentioned: “I don’t even know. I’m not a scientist.”

The remarks, which circulated on social media, drew criticism from former climate diplomats and civil society teams who referred to as on President Joseph R. Biden, Jr., to substitute Mr. Malpass because the president of the multilateral improvement financial institution.

The president of the USA, the biggest World Financial institution shareholder, historically appoints World Financial institution presidents. Former president Donald Trump appointed Mr. Malpass to a five-year time period in 2019.

The way forward for a second Trump improvement financial institution appointee, Inter-American Improvement Financial institution head Mauricio Claver-Carone, can also be doubtful after an investigation into allegations of a relationship with a staffer.

“How is this possible in 2022? This apathy produces weak climate action when countries so badly need @WorldBank aid & finance,” Laurence Tubiana, a former French climate envoy and key architect of the 2015 Paris climate accord, mentioned on Twitter.

“People & governments now need a WB leader who listens to science,” mentioned Mr. Tubiana, now CEO of the non-profit European Climate Basis.

A coalition of civil society teams on Wednesday referred to as for the World Financial institution to fireplace Malpass.

The World Financial institution and White Home declined to remark.

The US Treasury mentioned it anticipated all companions to be dedicated to preventing climate change.

“We expect the World Bank Group to be a global leader of climate ambition and the mobilization of significantly more climate finance for developing countries,” a spokesperson mentioned. “We have — and will continue — to make that expectation clear to World Bank leadership. The World Bank must be a full partner in delivering on this global agenda.”

Final yr, over 70 non-governmental organizations had collectively referred to as for Malpass to get replaced on the grounds that the Financial institution was falling quick on climate motion.

The World Financial institution diminished its new coal energy investments in 2013 and stopped funding upstream oil and gasoline operations in 2019, however has to this point resisted stress from European board members and climate campaigners to section out fossil gasoline financing solely.

In January 2021 the Bank’s board authorized a $620 million funding in a multibillion-dollar liquified pure gasoline venture in Mozambique.

“It is time for the White House and governments all over the world to think hard as to who they want at the helm of the World Bank,” mentioned Sonia Dunlop from suppose tank E3G. “You don’t need to be a scientist to understand climate science.”

Different specialists mentioned a powerful grasp on climate science must be a pre-requisite for the job of World Financial institution president throughout a time wherein climate-driven catastrophes have gotten extra frequent and impacting many growing nations that obtain monetary assist from the Financial institution.

“Climate change will impact the poorest in the world the most so to have the head of the World Bank not being clear and forceful on taking on climate change sends the wrong message,” mentioned Gilbert Metcalf, former deputy assistant Treasury secretary for surroundings and power beneath the Obama administration.

Former US Vice President Al Gore earlier this week described Mr. Malpass as a climate denier.

Selwin Hart, particular adviser to the UN secretary-general on climate motion, had additionally criticized the World Financial institution on the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow final yr.

Massive banks, particularly the World Financial institution, “cannot continue to fiddle while the developing world burns,” he mentioned. — Reuters

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