World Bank chief Malpass says won't quit over climate denial row

Climate activists have called for David Malpass to be removed, for what they say is an inadequate approach to the climate crisis. PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON - World Bank president David Malpass said on Friday he had no plans to stand down, as he battles charges of climate denial for dodging questions on the role of man-made emissions in global warming.

"Not resigning," Malpass said in an interview with Politico, when asked if he had envisaged quitting over the firestorm caused by his comments at a conference on climate finance - which he has since moved to clarify.

"Nor have I" considered it, he said, affirming that none of the bank's member countries had asked him to leave.

Climate activists had previously called for Malpass to be removed for what they say is an inadequate approach to the climate crisis - and the chorus grew louder after his appearance at the New York Times-organised conference this week.

Pressed on stage to respond to a claim by former US vice president Al Gore that he was a climate denier, Malpass declined multiple times to say whether he believed man-made emissions were warming the planet - responding, "I'm not a scientist."

Under mounting fire, Malpass has moved to clarify his position and did so again on Friday.

"Look, it's clear that greenhouse gas emissions from human activity are adding to, are causing climate change," he told Politico. "And so the task for us, for the world, is to pull together the projects and the funding that actually has an impact."

In an interview with CNN a day earlier, he had likewise acknowledged that climate-warming emissions were "coming from manmade sources, including fossil fuels, methane, agricultural uses and industrial uses."

"I'm not a denier," he told the network, adding that his message had been "tangled" and he was "not always good at conveying" what he means.

Climate activists protest against David Malpass in front of the World Bank's Washington headquarters, on Sept 22, 2022. PHOTO: REUTERS

The head of the World Bank is traditionally an American, while the leader of the other big international lender in Washington, the IMF, tends to be European.

Malpass is a veteran of Republican administrations in the United States and was appointed in 2019 while Donald Trump, who famously and repeatedly denied the science behind climate change, was president. AFP

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