David Malpass resigns from World Bank, hopes rise for pro-climate successor

Appointed to the most senior position at the global financial organisation by then-President Donald Trump, the planned five-year term will end this summer following a surprise announcement.

The news means that David Malpass will finish his tenure as World Bank President almost a year ahead of schedule, a move that has been directly attributed to mounting pressure following a September 2022 press conference that raised serious questions about the leader’s environmental views. 

When asked for his opinion on climate change, and whether he agreed with the now-overwhelming consensus that burning fossil fuels was increasing global temperatures, Malpass simply responded: ‘I’m not a scientist.’ The comment has since been used as an example to show a lack of concern about the crisis, with Al Gore among those to voice accusations that the World Bank doesn’t care about the mounting emergency. 

‘It’s ridiculous to have a climate denier at the head of the World Bank,’ Gore said in an interview published around the same time.

Nevertheless, records show the organisation delivered around $109bn in climate-related funding to developing nations between 2016 and 2021. Four years ago, it also declared that it would end upstream finance for oil and gas projects, a plan that was widely welcomed by the international community. However, a recent report – Investing in Climate Disaster: World Bank Finance for Fossil Fuels – confirmed fossil fuel projects in Myanmar and Uzbekistan had since received investment. 

Since the departure of Malpass was announced, the media has been flooded with speculation as to his possible replacement, with the general view being this will mark the beginning of a new greener era for the World Bank. Not before time, with the Glasgow Financial Alliance estimating that avoiding the worst impacts of climate change will require $125tn of investment in the next ten years, including $16tn on electricity transition, $5.4tn on transport, $5.2tn on buildings, $2.2tn on industry, $1.5tn on low emission fuels, and $1.5tn on agriculture. 

Oregon State University recently reported on a possible 27 feedback loops that could lock the world into irreversible climate change. Find out what they are here

Image: World Bank Group





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