In the midst of a media storm, the boss of the World Bank does not want to let go of the bar

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In the midst of a media storm, the head of the World Bank does not want to let go of the bar

David Malpass, President of the World Bank

World Bank (WB) President David Malpass has been under fire since the beginning of the week, accused of being “climate skeptic”, a reproach to which he tried to respond on Friday without calming the calls for his departure.

It all started when former US Vice President Al Gore said on Monday that Mr. Malpass was a climate skeptic and had no succeeded in improving the financing of climate projects in developing countries.

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

I am not a scientist, he had ended up declaring, pushed by the public, preferring to highlight the enormous effort made by the WB to help finance against global warming. His response outraged the specialized NGOs, who therefore called for his departure.

We condemn the remarks made by the president of the BM, said Friday the spokesperson for the White House, Karine Jean-Pierre, who recalls, however, that replacing him requires the agreement of a majority of shareholders. , you have to keep that in mind.

I will not resign, and I have not considered it, however, replied Mr. Malpass on Friday when questioned by the Politico media. According to him, none of the member states of the international financial institution have asked for his resignation. He said he was not a climate skeptic, pointing out that man-made greenhouse gases are the cause of global warming.

And our mission is to put in place projects and financing that have an impact to reduce emissions, he added. A statement that he had already made the day before, on the CNN International channel, declaring that it is obvious that greenhouse gas emissions are of human origin, in particular due to the #x27;use of fossil fuels. And we are working to change that, he said.

I'm not a climatosceptic, he insisted, explaining that he got confused and was not always good when #x27;it's about answering questions.

But his justifications did not calm the critics: in turn, a group of scientists specializing in climate issues called on Friday to depart Mr. Malpass.

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

I am worried about the World Bank, said economist Joseph Stiglitz, himself a former chief economist of the WB and now very critical of the Bank, on Monday. institution, interviewed by AFP. On major issues, like global warming, it has not taken the lead the world needs. it is an international driving force in terms of climate ambition, insisted Ms. Jean-Pierre.

Mr. Malpass's political profile is no stranger to the attention he receives on climate issues. Republican and Under-Secretary of the Treasury for International Economic Relations of former US President Donald Trump, he was appointed by the latter in 2019 to head the WB to take over from his compatriot, Jim Yong Kim. , resigned.

According to a pre-established mode of appointment, the United States indeed chooses the president of the WB, while Europe takes the decision concerning the management of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The share held by the countries in the capital of the two institutions is the basis of this distribution, the United States and the whole of the European Union being the two main shareholders.

International economic institutions have had to deal with a series of scandals targeting their respective leaders, sometimes for reasons related to past activities, thus raising the question of this mode of designation.

The latest accusations date back to October 2021 and relate to IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva, who is suspected of lobbying to favor China in a ranking when she was WB Managing Director.

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His two French predecessors, Dominique Strauss-Kahn then Christine Lagarde, were for their part targeted by judicial investigations and convictions, respectively for sexual assault in New York in 2012 and within the framework of the arbitration case between Crédit Lyonnais and Bernard Tapie in France.

Mr. Malpass's own predecessor, Mr. Kim, came under fire after awarding bonuses to several top executives in 2014, before resigning in 2019 to join an investment firm.

He was also affected by the charges against Ms Georgieva, with an independent report highlighting that Mr Kim had him also lobbied WB staff to change data for China, but also Azerbaijan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

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