WASHINGTON — World Bank President David Malpass said Friday he was not stepping down from office amid calls from climate lawyers for him to step down over his views on climate change.
Mr Malpass also said the bank’s shareholders – US-led governments around the world – have not asked him to resign. Mr Malpass, who was nominated by former President Donald Trump to lead the bank, spoke in an interview with Politico.
The head of the World Bank has been under criticism since Tuesday for answering questions about whether the burning of fossil fuels has led to rapid and dangerous global warming. At a climate event in New York hosted by the New York Times, he declined to answer directly, saying, “I’m not a scientist.”
He has since tried to clarify his views amid an uproar on social media.
“Look, it’s clear that greenhouse gas emissions from human activities contribute to, and cause, climate change,” Mr Malpass said in Friday’s interview.
Mr Malpass acknowledged that he failed to do his best in responding to a comment by former Vice President Al Gore calling him a “climate denier” during Tuesday’s event.Read:Elton John teary-eyed as Biden surprises him with medal at concert
“To the question ‘Are you a climate denier?’ I should have said no,” said Mr. Malpass Friday, while addressing Mr. Gore called off-topic at a seminar to discuss policy impact. The incident was “unfortunate,” he said, as the World Bank takes a strong leadership position to tackle climate change.
The US president, by far the largest shareholder of the World Bank, usually appoints the head of the World Bank, a Washington-based lender for developing countries. Mr Trump appointed Mr Malpass to a five-year term ending in 2024.
The Trump administration often opposed international efforts to reduce carbon emissions, while the Biden administration made climate policy a priority.
“We expect the World Bank Group to be a global leader in climate aspiration and mobilizing significantly more climate finance for developing countries,” said Treasury Department spokesman Michael Kikukawa, in response to a question about the US’s stance on the position of Mr Malpass. “We have — and will continue — to make that expectation clear to World Bank leadership.”Read:Hurricane Fiona forecast to hit eastern Canada with record intensity
Asked by reporters if Malpass had the president’s backing amid calls for his resignation, White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said that “removing him will require a majority of shareholders” and reiterated that the administration would continue to push for the World Bank to tackle climate change.Read:Richard Nixon and wife Pat Nixon were ‘exposed to massive dosages of radiation’ in 1959 Moscow trip
“Treasury will hold Malpass accountable for this position and support the many employees working to combat climate change at the World Bank,” said Ms Jean-Pierre.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has met with the heads of multilateral financial institutions, including the World Bank, to pressure them to increase their climate finance amounts, step up their efforts to help countries reduce emissions and improve private capital. mobilize for climate investment.
—Catherine Lucey and Andrew Duehren contributed to this article.
Write to Yuka Hayashi at [email protected]
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