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Climate envoy declines to back World Bank chief as activists call for shake-up


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The Washington Examiner

Katherine Doyle, White House Reporter

September 21, 2022

A top adviser to President Joe Biden declined to say whether the World Bank chief appointed three years ago by former President Donald Trump has the administration’s confidence as climate activists lead a pressure campaign to replace him.

U.S. climate envoy John Kerry declined to comment on whether the Biden administration had faith in David Malpass’s leadership, stating, “That’s the president’s decision.”

“I will tell you this though,” Kerry said, “we have to have major reform and major restructuring” of multilateral development banks.


In another panel at the event, former Vice President Al Gore called Malpass a “climate denier” and urged the Biden administration to remove him. Gore has previously described the bank as “missing in action” on climate goals.

Malpass later defended his record and called Gore’s remarks “very odd” before declining to answer questions on whether he believes man-made emissions drive climate change.

“I don’t know. I’m not a scientist,” Malpass said. “What we need to do is move forward with impactful projects.”

He said the World Bank had directed more than $31 billion to climate finance, including projects to help developing countries adapt to extreme weather events. The bank backed the Climate Change Action Plan launched in Glasgow, Scotland, he added.


Sources have blamed Malpass for a statement at the end of the COP26 climate summit that failed to include specific deadlines or targets for multinational development banks, according to the outlet.

“Malpass is the main block. ... He doesn’t think this is a priority,” a person familiar with the negotiations among the group of development banks told the Financial Times at the time.

Kerry on Tuesday said he had been “pushing for months” for an overhaul of the institutions established out of the Bretton Woods agreement, including the World Bank, backed by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.

“It's an open door. I'm not pushing against a shut door,” he added.


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