In a panel discussion Tuesday, Malpas dodged a question about whether he accepted the scientific consensus that humans burning fossil fuels are “rapidly and dangerously warming the planet.”
“I don’t even know — I’m not a scientist and that’s not a question,” Malpass responded when asked at a New York Times-hosted debate at Climate Week in New York City. The moderator, David Gillis, then prompted him twice, asking, “Will you answer the question?” no gain.
Asked by CNN’s Julia Chatterley on Thursday if he was a climate change denier — a charge made by former US Vice President Al Gore — he replied: “I don’t know the political motivations behind it. It’s clear.” Greenhouse gas emissions are coming from anthropogenic sources, including fossil fuels, methane, agricultural use and industrial use. And so we’re working hard to change that.”
Malpass agreed that fossil fuel emissions are “clearly” contributing to global warming.
“I’m not a denialist,” he said, adding that his message was “confused” and that he was “not always good at getting his point across”.
“I’m not always the best at answering questions or listening to questions,” he said.
Scientists have known for decades that the burning of fossil fuels by humans is the main driver of climate change, and climate action groups around the world expressed shock and anger at Malpass’s remarks on Tuesday.
Former US President Donald Trump appointed Malpas to head the World Bank for a five-year term in 2019. As the bank’s largest shareholder, the US traditionally appoints its own president.
Tasnim Essop, executive director of the Climate Action Network, which represents more than 1,800 groups worldwide, called Malpas a “self-proclaimed climate denier” and said it was “unacceptable” for him to head the bank. Forgiveness”.
“The World Bank continues to use public money to finance fossil fuel projects in countries of the Global South where people are already suffering the worst effects of climate change,” he said in a statement. “Malpass cannot remain president to preserve any decency for the World Bank.”
Sonia Dunlop, a climatologist with think tank E3G who works with banks and international financial institutions such as the World Bank, called Malpas’ remarks “a step too far”.
“Now is the time for the White House and governments around the world to think about who they want to lead the World Bank,” he said in a statement. “You don’t have to be a scientist to understand climate science — the facts are clear, and there’s no choice but to act.”
When asked for comment, the White House referred CNN to the US Treasury. “We expect the World Bank Group to be a global leader in environmental ambition and to mobilize significantly more climate finance for developing countries,” a Treasury spokesman said.
“We have — and will continue to — make clear this expectation on World Bank leadership. The World Bank must be a full partner in delivering on this global agenda.”
The World Bank declined to comment on calls for Malpass to resign. When asked about Gore’s criticism that the World Bank has failed to improve financing for climate projects in poor countries, a spokesperson responded: “The World Bank Group is a strong supporter of climate investment in developing countries. is the largest multilateral funder.”
“Under the leadership of David Malpass, the World Bank Group doubled its climate finance, published an ambitious climate change action plan, and launched country-level assessments to support countries’ climate and development goals,” The spokesperson echoed similar comments by Malpass. in discussion.
The organization also pointed to its previous work on climate change. It said it provided $31.7 billion in fiscal year 2022 to help countries deal with the climate crisis.
The letter also criticized the World Bank’s climate change action plan, published as early as 2021, which allowed fossil fuel investment for another two to four years.
The letter states that the plan is a violation of the rights of the communities most affected by the crisis.
The World Bank has reduced its new investment in coal power over the past decade and stopped funding upstream oil and gas operations in 2019. But it has not heeded calls from its European board members and climate campaigners to end fossil fuel financing altogether.