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WASHINGTON: World Bank (WB) President David Malpass has been under fire since the start of the week, accused of “climate scepticism”, a charge he tried to respond to on Friday without placating the challenges. for his departure.

It all started when former US Vice President Al Gore said on Monday that Malpass was a “climate skeptic” and had failed to improve funding for climate projects in developing countries.

Invited the next day to speak about the allegations during a round table organized by the New York Times, the WB president refused on three occasions to say whether he recognized the role of fossil fuels in global warming.

“I’m not a scientist,” he finally declared, pressed by the public, preferring to emphasize the “huge effort” by the WB to help finance the fight against global warming.

His answer outraged specialized non-governmental organizations, which therefore called for his departure.

“We condemn the president’s comments” of BM, White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre said Friday, but recalled that “replacing him requires the approval of the majority of shareholders, you have to comply with that. on mind.”

“I’m not resigning and I haven’t even thought about it,” Mr Malpass said on Friday when asked by Politico. According to him, “none” of the member states of the international financial institution requested his resignation.

He assured that he would not be a climate skeptic and pointed out that “the cause of global warming is greenhouse gases of human origin”. “Our mission is to implement projects and financing that have an impact” on reducing emissions, he added.

A statement he had already made the day before on CNN International, in which he declared that “it is clear that greenhouse gas emissions are of human origin, mainly due to the use of fossil fuels”. “And we’re working to change that,” he said.

“I’m not a climate skeptic,” he insisted, explaining that I’m “confused” and not “always good when it comes to questions.”

However, his justifications did not appease critics: a group of scientists specializing in climate issues again called for Mr. Malpasso’s departure on Friday.

Especially since if the president of the SB defends his institution’s record in the fight against global warming, some blame him for not doing enough.

“I’m worried about the World Bank,” economist Joseph Stiglitz, himself a former chief economist at the WB and now highly critical of the institution, said on Monday. AFP, “failed to take action on fundamental issues such as global warming.” leadership in operations that the world needs”.

“We expect the World Bank to be an international driver of climate ambition,” insisted Jean-Pierre.

A series of scandals in the IMF and WB

Mr. Malpasso’s political profile is no stranger to the attention he receives on climate issues. The Republican and former US President Donald Trump’s deputy treasury secretary in charge of international economic relations appointed him to head the World Bank in 2019 to succeed his compatriot Jim Yong Kim.

According to the predetermined method of appointment, the president of the WB is actually chosen by the United States, while Europe decides on the management of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The basis of this division is the share of countries in the capital of these two institutions, with the two main shareholders being the United States of America and the entire European Union.

International economic institutions have been confronted with a series of scandals targeting their respective leaders, sometimes for reasons linked to past activities, which raises the question of this method of appointment.

The most recent allegations date back to October 2021 and involve IMF managing director Kristalina Georgieva, who is suspected of lobbying for China’s preference in the rankings when she was WB managing director.

His two French predecessors, Dominique Strauss-Kahn and then Christine Lagarde, were involved in a judicial investigation and conviction for sexual assault in New York in 2012 and in the context of an arbitration case between Crédit Lyonnais and Bernard Tapie in France.

Mr. Malpasso’s own predecessor, Mr. Kim, faced criticism after he awarded bonuses to several executives in 2014 before resigning in 2019 to join an investment firm.

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