WA few days before the start of the annual meeting of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, World Bank President David Malpass appears to have concerns about his job security. He had provoked upset in the White House because he had revived old doubts about his attitude to climate change in a panel discussion.
Speaking at New York Climate Week, he was asked if he thought burning fossil fuels was rapidly and dangerously warming the planet. At first, Malpass tried to avoid the question, only to say, “I don’t even know. I’m not a scientist.”
No comment from Biden
These statements triggered calls for resignation from so-called climate activists. The most prominent among them, former US Vice President Al Gore, called Malpass a “climate change denier” and added: “We have to get rid of this leadership, appoint a new leadership,” said Gore. He hopes President Joe Biden will take the initiative.
There is no official comment from Binding. The US Treasury Department made it clear that it expects the World Bank to play a leading role in the fight against climate change.
Malpass himself saw the criticism as so threatening that he went on the media offensive and at the same time tried to appease his employees in the development aid institution in an internal letter. He made it clear to the broadcaster CNN and the newspaper Politico that he was not a “climate change denier”. “It is clear that greenhouse gases from human activity are causing climate change,” he said in the Politico interview. The World Bank promotes those projects that would have the greatest impact.
Former Trump adviser
From the beginning of his tenure, Malpass was viewed critically by democratic politicians and representatives of climate organizations. Former President Donald Trump heaved Malpass into the position in 2019. Malpass had advised Trump in the presidential election campaign and later became Secretary of the Treasury for International Affairs.
Critics have long wanted to repurpose the World Bank into an institution with the central purpose of combating climate change. Last year, the World Bank, under Malpass’s leadership, decided to invest 100 billion dollars in climate projects within five years. For more than a decade, the World Bank has withdrawn from financing coal-fired power plants. However, it is currently helping Mozambique to exploit its natural gas reserves.
In line with tradition, the United States appoints the World Bank president, while Europeans hold the leadership position of the International Monetary Fund. However, shareholders of the IMF and World Bank from other continents are increasingly opposed to this division of tasks and are claiming the top post for one of their own. A looming conflict over Malpass’s successor could make the US government reluctant to force Malpass out of office early.