Despite widespread calls for his dismissal, the president of the World Bank, David Malpass, tried to clarify his views on climate change.
According to Mr. Malpass, he accepted the overwhelming scientific conclusion that human activity is warming the planet.
He said it was clear that greenhouse gas emissions were coming from man made sources. I'm not a denier, that's for sure.
He sent a memo to World Bank staff, which was obtained by The New York Times, stating that climate change is caused by greenhouse gas emissions from human activities.
He refused to acknowledge the dangers of burning oil, gas and coal during a public event at The New York Times on Tuesday.
During a discussion about climate finance, Mr. Malpass was asked to respond to a remark made earlier in the day by former Vice President Al Gore. Mr. Malpass wouldn't say if he accepted that man-made greenhouse gas emissions had created a crisis that is already leading to more extreme weather.
He denied being a scientist.
In New York, where thousands of diplomats, policymakers and activists had gathered for the UN General Assembly and a series of events known as Climate Week, Mr. Malpass's equivocation concerning the basic facts of climate science became a hot topic.Sign up for the Climate Forward newsletter, for Times subscribers only. Your must-read guide to the climate crisis.
The World Bank is not doing enough to align its lending with international efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and is moving too slowly to help poor countries deal with extreme weather caused by the warming of the planet. The bank continued to fund oil and gas projects despite a declaration by the International Energy Agency that countries must stop financing new fossil fuel development if the world has any hope of avoiding climate catastrophe.
There is a very real debate about how all the capital sitting in the bank can be deployed more quickly and assertively. Whatever that was from Malpass was disappointing.
The controversy is about something. The World Bank's head, David Malpass, was called a "climate denier" by former Vice President Al Gore at a climate change event.
How did he reply? Mr. Malpass defended his record on climate, but refused to say if he accepted the scientific consensus that the burning of fossil fuels is warming the planet. He said that he accepted the scientific consensus that fossil fuels are warming the planet.
Malpass has a record on climate. The environment and global warming were not discussed by Mr. Malpass after he became the World Bank's president. Mr. Malpass has described climate change as an "immense" problem.
His position on climate change matters. Climate initiatives can be funded by the World Bank, which is the world's largest development bank. It has unique power and tools to help developing countries prepare for climate change, something that is important in our warming world.
People familiar with the matter say that World Bank staff members exchanged text messages about how Mr. Malpass bungled his initial response on Tuesday and expressed disappointment that he had undermined the bank's work on climate initiatives.
Some people were wondering if Mr. Malpass would leave before his term ended. The president nominated him to lead the World Bank. The World Bank's board of governors would have to agree to remove Mr. Malpass before his term ends.
Jochen Flasbarth, a senior economic official in Germany, was concerned about the signals from the top of the World Bank.
The reaction from many other people was much better.
The head of the United Nations climate agency said on Wednesday that it was simple. You can't lead the world's top international development organization if you don't understand the threat of climate change.
Mark Carney, who is leading a United Nations effort to get financial institutions to help reduce emissions, spoke at an event on Wednesday. He denied being a scientist. Scientific advice was taken by me.
The Biden administration wouldn't say if it had confidence in Mr. Malpass, but it did say that the institution must play a central role in fighting climate change.
The World Bank Group is expected to be a leader of climate ambition and more climate finance for developing countries. The expectation will be made clear to World Bank leadership. The World Bank needs to deliver on this global agenda.
Climate experts called for the removal of Mr. Malpass.
Jules Kortenhorst, chief executive of the Rocky Mountain Institute and an expert on energy and climate issues, said there was no place for a climate denier at the World Bank. It's time for David Malpass to step down. The World Bank needs a leader who is passionate about the threat that climate change poses to reducing poverty and improving living standards.
The events began when Mr. Gore said on Tuesday morning. Mr. Gore spoke at the New York Times event. It's ridiculous to have a climate denier at the helm of the World Bank.
Mr. Malpass commented on CNN, but his critics didn't like what he said.
Lusa Abbott Galvo is a senior international policy campaigner with Friends of the Earth. Over the course of a decade,Malpass has been denying the existence of climate change. We can't have a situation where a World Bank president is saying nice things publicly but working behind the scenes to block action, and that's what we've seen in his three years as World Bank president
Tasneem Essop is the founding director of the Energy Democracy Initiative in South Africa.
She said that if the World Bank's mandate is to end poverty, it is incompatible with its continued funding of fossil fuels that is a key driver of the climate crisis. His track record doesn't show that he is serious about the climate crisis.
Mr. Malpass worked in the Treasury Department during the Trump administration. He didn't say much about climate change in that role, but he did say that he didn't think there was a link between carbon emissions and global warming. The Daily Caller News Foundation is closely associated with the conservative media group that often publishes articles and opinion pieces questioning climate science.
Mr. Malpass was careful to fulfill the bank's climate obligations without offending his former boss. Mr. Trump promoted fossil fuels and called climate change a hoax.
Mr. Malpass was willing to discuss climate change publicly. The bank's efforts to invest in renewable energy projects and fund efforts to make poor countries more resistant to extreme weather can be found on its website.
The World Bank's relationship with the US is overseen by the Treasury Department. The heads of other development banks have been urged by the Treasury Secretary to invest in adaptation and climate resilience and align their operations with the Paris Agreement.
World Bank staff are expected to attend a town hall hosted by Mr. Malpass next week.