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We’re leading an all-out national mobilization to defeat the climate crisis.

Join our work today to help us build a thriving and just clean energy future. 

No Room for Climate Denial at the World Bank

Tell President Biden: It’s Time to #FireMalpass

© 2021 COP26/Flickr CC-BY NC-ND 2.0

It was a simple question: “Do you accept the scientific consensus that the man-made burning of fossil fuels is rapidly and dangerously warming the planet?”

But David Malpass—the president of the World Bank and the man in charge of funding energy projects in countless developing countries—refused to answer. He said, “I don’t even know. I’m not a scientist.”

While Malpass has since walked these comments back, his tenure of slow-stepping climate action at the World Bank speaks for itself. It’s time to #FireMalpass—and nominate a World Bank president that will take climate leadership seriously.

But first, let’s dig a little deeper: what’s the World Bank, and what’s its role in tackling the climate crisis? 

The World Bank is an international financial institution, tasked with improving the economies of developing countries. Today, it’s also the biggest provider of climate loans and grants to low and middle-income countries. That means the World Bank has outsized power to help developing countries finance the clean energy transition. Critically, the international organization also has the power to completely phase out its financial and technical support of fossil fuel projects—but has failed to do that.

And that’s a problem because climate experts are clear: we must immediately end new fossil fuel projects across the globe—and sever their financial flows. The 2021 Production Gap Report finds that global fossil fuel production must start “declining immediately and steeply to be consistent with limiting long-term warming to 1.5 degress Celsius.” And the University of Manchester’s 2022 Production Phaseout Report draws an even thicker red line for new fossil fuel production. The authors find there is no practical emission space for any nation to develop any new fossil fuel production facilities of any kind if we want to stand a chance of meeting our goal to limit warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. 

A few years back, under previous leadership, the World Bank announced plans to begin phasing out support for upstream oil and gas projects after 2019, with certain exceptions. But under Malpass, the World Bank continues to provide direct support for oil and gas production, as well as indirect aid to coal projects, through budget support to governments. And last year at COP26 in Glasgow, the World Bank refused to sign a pledge to end fossil fuel financing, even as five other development banks joined the pledge. 

Already, the World Bank must grapple with its long-standing history of supporting projects that inflict environmental injustices. Now, as the climate crisis intensifies, it must put an end to direct or indirect fossil fuel support. That begins with replacing Malpass with a president that can commit to speedy climate action—and completely ending oil and gas financing.

What’s David Malpass’s track record?

Malpass’ recent comments at New York Climate Week were not the first example of his climate-denying and delaying ways. Back in 2010, Malpass said he didn’t believe that carbon dioxide was causing global warming. And since President Trump nominated David Malpass as World Bank President in 2019, the World Bank has been a climate laggard compared to its peers. For example, the World Bank set a goal in 2020 that 35 percent of their financing would have climate co-benefits over the next five years—while the European Investment Bank and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank have both committed to a much higher target: 50 percent green finance targets by 2025. 

What can President Biden do about it?

As the largest shareholder in the World Bank, the United States has traditionally nominated the international institution’s leader. That means President Biden has considerable power to nominate a new World Bank president that takes the climate crisis seriously. The Biden administration has signaled that it’s open to pushing for the firing of the World Bank President—but only if we raise our voices.

Sign the petition to #FireMalpass here

Ahead of the annual World Bank meetings from October 10 to 16, tell President Biden to help #FireMalpass—and that any future World Bank President must speed up clean energy investments and end fossil fuel financing.

Tell President Biden: Fire David Malpass

There is simply no excuse for climate denialism in 2022—and certainly not at the head of a massive financial institution. Enter your information and we'll direct you to a petition calling on President Biden to help #FireMalpass now.