The White House Slams World Bank President’s Climate Denialism

The White House Slams World Bank President’s Climate Denialism

David Malpass, the Trump-appointed president of World Bank, sparked outrage and raised public doubt last week when a New York Times reporter asked him if he accepted climate science. Affirming speculation that Malpass is a climate denier, he stated, “I don’t even know, I am not a scientist, and that is not a question.”

New York Times Events: World Bank, IMF and Bahamian Leaders Talk About Climate Finance, September 20, 2022.

The White House strongly condemned his comments, citing: “We expect the World Bank to be a global leader of climate ambition and mobilization, as well as significantly more finance for developing countries… We condemn the words of [bank’s] president.”

While it would be unprecedented, Malpass could be removed from his post. So far, the White House has refused to say whether it has confidence in him as World Bank President.

Why This Matters

The World Bank is one of the biggest funders of climate and energy infrastructure for middle- and low-income countries worldwide, many of which are disproportionately impacted by climate change and already facing extreme weather disasters. Climate deniers at the highest level could be a barrier to the organization’s ability to assist these countries and mitigate disaster risk.

Last week, President Shabaz Sharif of Pakistan warned that many countries would soon be facing devastation similar to that of his own country after this summer’s catastrophic floods. “What happened in Pakistan will not stay in Pakistan,” he said.

UN: Pakistan | Prime Minister Addresses United Nations General Debate | 77th Session, September 23, 2022.

Guardian: Pakistan floods affect 33 million people as national emergency declared, August 26, 2022.

Oxfam International: Climate loss and damage, July 20, 2022.

DW: Floods, drought and the consequences of extreme weather (Documentary), July 26, 2022.

Denial On All Levels

The World Bank is hardly the only place climate denial proves to be an enduring obstacle. In California, some urban residents argue their tax dollars are squandered by residents in fire-prone areas, who require state relief when their towns are destroyed by wildfires over and over again.

According to some Californians, other fellow state residents should have no choice but to relocate to safer areas as climate change makes the destruction of certain places all but inevitable. The state struggles when rural climate deniers who live in high-risk areas and climate-conscious individuals in low-risk urban centers butt heads. Though many in higher-risk places lack the desire to relocate, they also may lack the means. According to the Los Angeles Times, this divide could continue to run deeper, writing, “And which is the fairest, most equitable use of public resources?”

WW0: How To Climate Change, September 23, 2020.

MSNBC: ​​Bill Nye | The Effects Of Climate Change Are So Obvious People Will Come Around, August 25, 2022.

Sky News Australia: Climate change denial now a 'mental condition,' September 14, 2022.

Channel 4: Climate change deniers host conference in Sin City, October 18, 2021.

CNBC: Why Climate Change Denial Still Exists In The US, December 20, 2020.