The World Bank president appears to have listened to the growing demands for resignation and took a U-turn after refusing to say the climate crisis was real.
During a New York Times Tuesday’s event, David Malpass, a candidate for former President Donald Trump, tarnished when asked if he accepted scientific evidence that the worsening climate crisis was caused by humanity burning fossil fuels.
He was asked point blank for his views just hours after Al Gore, the climate activist and former vice president, described Malpass as a “climate denier” during a panel. Gore asked President Joe Biden to remove Malpass from his post and criticized the bank for continuing to provide capital to fossil fuel companies to work in developing countries.
Malpass was repeatedly asked about Gore’s claim and whether he acknowledged the scientific consensus that the use of fossil fuels is “rapidly and dangerously warming the planet.”
He refused to provide a direct answer to the question, instead telling the audience, “I’m not a scientist.”
On Thursday, Mr. Malpass sent a note to World Bank staff acknowledging the reality of the climate crisis, according to Politic.
“On the climate, it is clear that greenhouse gas emissions from human activities are causing climate change and that the sharp increase in the use of coal, diesel and heavy fuel oil in both advanced economies and developing countries is creating a another wave of climate crisis. Anything seen in a different light is incorrect and deplorable, “reads the note from Mr. Malpass, second Politic.
The independent contacted the World Bank for comment.
Malpass was named president of the World Bank after being named by Trump in 2019.
Climate activists and other political figures have joined Gore’s call for the bank head to be removed after his appearance.
Democratic Congresswoman Maxine Waters, chairman of the Internal Financial Services Committee, released a statement calling Malpass’s refusal to accept the overwhelming scientific consensus on the climate crisis “appalling”.
“It is extremely concerning that the leader of the world’s leading development institution and largest source of climate finance is questioning the vast scientific evidence on which the Bank’s work on climate is supposedly based or should be,” it reads.
Bill McKibben, longtime environmentalist and founder of the grassroots climate movement 350.org, used his weekly newsletter to call for the banker’s resignation.
“Some essential climate tasks are difficult and costly and take years,” he wrote. And some couldn’t be easier. President Biden now needs to get rid of David Malpass as head of the World Bank. “
John Kerry, the US special envoy for climate change, who also appeared at the event earlier this week, was asked if the World Bank president had the confidence of the White House.
Mr. Kerry declined to comment, saying, “This is the president’s decision.”
However, he indicated that support for the bank’s position may be poor on the ground in the Biden administration.
Speaking of multilateral development banks and their role in the climate crisis, Kerry said: “We have to have big reforms, big restructuring.”
“It’s up to us to bring people together and get that reform, and there’s a lot of discussion about us doing it right now.”