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Why Climate Activists Want Biden To Fire David Malpass From World Bank: NPR

Activists unfurled a banner calling David Malpass a climate denier at World Bank headquarters after he refused to say whether he believed man-made emissions contributed to global warming.

Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images


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Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images


Activists unfurled a banner calling David Malpass a climate denier at World Bank headquarters after he refused to say whether he believed man-made emissions contributed to global warming.

Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Climate activists are calling on President Biden to move to fire David Malpass, the head of the World Bank, after he publicly complained about whether he believes greenhouse gas emissions from human activity are causing climate change. , saying, “I’m not a scientist.” .”

Malpass made the comments after former Vice President and prominent climate activist Al Gore called him a “climate denier” in a New York Times event on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly earlier this week.

Malpass later tried to clean up his comments, saying political on Friday that it was a “poorly chosen line”. Malpass defended the bank’s investments and said he would not resign.

That did little to silence calls for his removal.

“We need climate leaders at the World Bank, we need climate leaders at the Federal Reserve, we need climate leaders in every important aspect of the job,” said Thanu Yakupitiyage, a spokesman for 350.org, an anti-fossil fuel climate advocacy group. .

“If he’s not going to be the one to really push and push the World Bank in a new direction that really works on climate initiatives, then he has to go,” Yakupitiyage said.


David Malpass, head of the World Bank, speaks at an event on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.

Riccardo Savi/Getty Images for Concordia Summi


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Riccardo Savi/Getty Images for Concordia Summi


David Malpass, head of the World Bank, speaks at an event on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.

Riccardo Savi/Getty Images for Concordia Summi

The White House makes public its discretion

The Malpass climate controversy quickly reached top White House officials, who were in New York this week for the UN General Assembly. A senior administration official told reporters that he was “obviously surprised.”

On Friday, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre directly criticized Malpass and the bank, and would not say whether President Biden retains confidence in Malpass’s leadership.

“We do not agree with the comments made by President Malpass,” Jean-Pierre told reporters. “We look forward to the World Bank being a world leader in climate ambition and mobilizing significantly more climate finance for developing countries,” he said, noting that the Treasury Department “has made that clear and will continue to do so.” “.

The United States plays a key role in the nomination of the president. But other nations that are shareholders of the bank would have a say in any leadership change, Jean-Pierre said.

“Removing it requires a majority of shareholders, so that’s something to keep in mind,” he told reporters.


Former President Donald Trump shakes hands with David Malpass on February 6, 2019 after nominating him to lead the World Bank.

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Former President Donald Trump shakes hands with David Malpass on February 6, 2019 after nominating him to lead the World Bank.

Alex Wong/Getty Images

It is not the first time that Malpass has been attacked

Malpass was nominated for a five-year term at the bank in 2019 by former President Donald Trump. The World Bank’s board generally approves the nomination of the United States, which is the bank’s largest shareholder.

It has long been criticized by climate and environmental advocates due to the bank’s continued funding of fossil fuel projects around the world. They argue that more must be done to move to cleaner energy sources.

Malpass’s latest comments were a “remarkable gaffe,” said Scott Morris, co-director of sustainable development finance at the Center for Global Development, but said there is a deeper fault line between the bank and climate activists.

“Climate advocates are becoming increasingly frustrated that this really central player institution is not demonstrating the kind of climate ambition that they think is needed,” Morris said, explaining that Malpass had not pushed to move the bank in that direction. .

“You compare it to where the climate community thinks the bank needs to go and it’s just not ambitious enough,” Morris said. “Clearly, he’s not trying to push the bank in the right direction and hasn’t shown any particular ambition around the climate beyond the baseline of support that the bank is providing at the moment.”

Lisa Frank, executive director of the Legislative Office for the Environment of America in Washington, said it was good that Malpass finally acknowledged that her comments fell short. But she said that actions speak louder than words. “Investing in fossil fuel projects is inconsistent with what we need to do to address global warming,” Frank said.

Malpass admits that he could have done a better job on the question.

Earlier this month, the World Bank touted spending $31.7 billion in fiscal year 2022 to help countries tackle climate change and has called itself “the world’s largest funder of climate action in developing countries.” project range from the expansion of the solar industry in India to biodigester programs in sub-Saharan Africa and increasing affordable access to electricity in Nigeria.

Malpass defended the bank’s track record on climate, saying it had done “strong leadership work” and was using climate science to find investments with the greatest impact. He said the question about his beliefs about climate change caught him off guard.

“When asked ‘Are you a climate denier?’ He should have said ‘No,'” Malpass said. “No one has said that other than Al Gore, and he was pretty off topic,” he said on the political event.

“It is clear that greenhouse gas emissions from human activity are adding up and causing climate change, so the task for us, for the world, is to bring together the projects and funding that really make an impact.” , said.


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