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Al Gore Calls World Bank Director ‘Climate Destroyer’

President Biden should work to remove the head of the World Bank, former Vice President Al Gore said on Tuesday, calling him a “climate denier” at an event to coincide with the United Nations General Assembly. Country.

Hours later, David Malpass, president of the development bank, defended his climate record, but refused to say outright whether he accepted the scientific consensus that burning fossil fuels was against the climate. the earth heats up dangerously or not.

Mr. Malpass called Mr. Gore’s remarks “very odd,” and noted that he was not a scientist himself by refusing to answer questions about whether he accepted climate science.

“What we need to do is go ahead with projects that have an impact,” Mr. Malpass said.

Both were part of separate board discussions at a climate change event hosted by The New York Times.

Mr. Gore said that Mr. Malpass, who was nominated by former President Donald J. Trump to lead the World Bank in 2019, failed to improve access to finance for developing countries to do. climate projects, a concern he has expressed before. .

“Since nearly 90 percent of future emissions increase comes from developing countries, we have to remove the top layers of risk in accessing capital in these developing countries,” he said. “That’s the job of the World Bank.”

The World Bank and its smaller regional partners have been repeatedly called to action by United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, including during his opening remarks at the General Assembly on Tuesday. “The major economies are their shareholders and have to make it happen,” he said.

Mr Malpass defended the World Bank’s performance, citing the Climate Change Action Plan launched in Glasgow last year. He said the bank has earmarked $31.7 billion in climate funding, half of which is for projects that adapt to extreme weather events and other climate changes, which are critical to with developing countries.

“The bank has led the world in focusing attention on resilience, adaptability and change,” he said.

During another panel at the same event, John Kerry, the US special envoy for climate change, declined to comment on whether the Biden administration had confidence in Mr. It’s the president’s decision.”

However, Mr. Kerry said he and others in the administration are pushing for a broader rethink of the global approach to climate change and other issues that allow organizations such as the World Bank. and the International Monetary Fund to act more aggressively.

“We need a big reform, a big restructuring” of the multilateral development banks, Mr. Kerry said. “It’s up to us to bring people together and implement that reform, and there’s a lot of discussion about us doing that right now.”

The presidency of the World Bank has been held by a citizen of the United States, its largest shareholder, since the bank was founded after World War II. Mr Malpass’s term runs until 2024 and Mr Biden will not be able to remove him anytime soon, although he can pressure Malpass to step down or work with other shareholders to get the board of directors to remove him. .

Lisa Friedman contribution report.

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