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World Bank boss backtracks on climate comments after Al Gore calls for his ouster

The World Bank president appears to have heeded growing calls for his resignation and backtracked after refusing to say the climate crisis was real.

During New York Times event Tuesday, David Malpass, a candidate for former President Donald Trump, obscured when asked if he accepted the scientific evidence that the worsening climate crisis was caused by the burning of fossil fuels by the humanity.

He was asked bluntly about his views hours after Al Gore, the climate activist and former vice president, described Mr Malpass as a “climate denier” during a panel. Mr Gore called on President Joe Biden to remove Mr Malpass from office and criticized the bank for continuing to provide capital to fossil fuel companies to work in developing countries.

Mr Malpass was repeatedly asked about Mr Gore’s claim and whether he acknowledged the scientific consensus that the use of fossil fuels is “rapidly and dangerously warming the planet”.

He declined to provide a direct answer to the question, instead telling the audience, “I’m not a scientist.”

On Thursday, Malpass sent a note to World Bank staff acknowledging the reality of the climate crisis, according to Politics.

“With regard to climate, it is clear that greenhouse gas emissions from human activities are driving climate change and that the sharp increase in the use of coal, diesel and heavy fuel oil in advanced economies and developing countries is creating a new wave of climate crisis. Anything seen in a different light is incorrect and regrettable,” Malpass’s memo reads, according to Politics.

The Independent has contacted the World Bank for comment.

Mr. Malpass was named president of the World Bank after being nominated by Mr. Trump in 2019.

Climate activists and other political figures joined Mr Gore’s call for the bank boss to be removed after his appearance.

Democratic MP Maxine Waters, chair of the House Financial Services Committee, released a statement calling Mr 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 premier development institution and largest source of climate finance is questioning the vast scientific evidence on which the Bank’s climate work is presumably based or should be,” it read. .

Bill McKibben, a longtime environmentalist and founder of the local climate movement, used his weekly newsletter to call for the banker’s resignation.

“Some critical climate tasks are difficult and expensive and take years,” he wrote. And some couldn’t be easier. President Biden must – now – get rid of David Malpass as head of the World Bank.

John Kerry, the US special envoy for climate change, who also attended the event earlier this week, was asked about the White House’s trust in him for the president of the World Bank.

Mr Kerry declined to comment, saying: ‘It’s the chairman’s decision.’

However, he indicated that support for the bank’s position may be thin on the ground in the Biden administration.

Speaking about multilateral development banks and their role in the climate crisis, Mr Kerry said: “We need major reform, major restructuring.”

“It’s up to us to bring people together and get this reform, and there’s a lot of talk about us doing that right now.”

The Independent Gt

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