World Bank President David Malpass has been accused of being a 'climate denier' after he refused to answer if he believed manmade emissions contributed to global warming

Pressure rises after World Bank chief shirks climate issues

World Bank President David Malpass has been accused of “climate denial” after he declined to say whether he believes anthropogenic emissions have contributed to global warming – Copyright AFP SAUL LOEB

Climate groups called on Wednesday for the resignation of the World Bank president after he repeatedly refused to say whether he believes anthropogenic emissions are contributing to global warming.

Activists have previously called for David Malpass to step down or be fired for what they call an inadequate approach to the climate crisis.

The head of the World Bank is traditionally American, while the other major international lender in Washington, the IMF, tends to be European. Malpass is a veteran Republican administration in the United States and was appointed in 2019 when Donald Trump, who has been known to repeatedly deny the science behind climate change, was president.

The anti-Malpass chorus grew louder after he appeared at the New York Times conference on climate finance on Tuesday.

Asked by a journalist to respond to former US Vice President Al Gore’s statement that he is climate denial, Malpass said some of his critics “may not know what the World Bank is doing.” He boasted that his climate funding is “by far the largest” among international financial institutions.

After another attempt failed to provide a direct answer, journalist David Gelles said: “Let me be very clear: do you agree with the scientific consensus that man-made burning of fossil fuels is warming the planet rapidly and dangerously? ?

Malpass again pointed to the work of the World Bank on this issue, after which several people in the audience shouted “Answer the question!”

“I even don’t know. I’m not a scientist,” said Malpass, clearly upset.

The Big Shift, a consortium of climate groups, on Wednesday called on the World Bank board to remove Malpass because of the comments.

“For the World Bank to maintain even the slightest decency, Malpass cannot remain president,” said Tasnim Essop, executive director of the Climate Action Network, part of the Big Shift group.

A separate group of activist organizations said it would unfurl a banner on Thursday at World Bank headquarters in Washington that read: “The World Bank Group is run by a climate denier.”

Malpass’s term ends in 2024, and he can only be removed from office by a vote of the World Bank’s board.

Climate groups have urged President Joe Biden to step up outside pressure.

Biden’s climate change envoy, former US Secretary of State John Kerry, during a speech at the same Times event declined to comment on Malpass’s future, saying “it’s the President’s decision.”

The World Bank declined to comment on the situation when approached by AFP.

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