At an event in New York coinciding with the UN General Assembly, former US vice president Al Gore has called David Malpass, the head of the World Bank, a “climate denier” and said Joe Biden “should work for [his] removal”, reports the New York Times. Gore said that Malpass – nominated by Donald Trump to lead the development bank in 2019 – had “been unable to improve access to financing for developing countries to take on climate projects”. According to the newspaper, Malpass has “defended his record on climate, but refused to say directly whether he accepted the scientific consensus that the burning of fossil fuels is dangerously warming the planet”. The bank’s presidency, the article explains, has been held by a citizen of the US, “its largest shareholder, since the bank was founded after the second world war”.
reports that this gives the US “considerable influence over its operations” and that, earlier this year, “the International Monetary Fund – with the support of the US – replaced a Trump appointee who was serving as its No 2 official”. When “pressed several times” about whether he accepted the science that burning fossil fuels warms the planet, Bloomberg quotes Malpass as saying: “I don’t know. I’m not a scientist.” He additionally emphasised “the institution’s pivot away from supporting coal”, while in an emailed statement, the World Bank said it “is the largest multilateral funder of climate investments in developing countries”.
“There is no such thing as a clean fossil fuel, just as there is no such thing as a healthy cigarette,” Gore is quoted as saying by Reuters
. Gore tells the newswire that the world is at a “positive tipping point” in the climate fight “as surging oil and gas costs spur governments to decarbonise faster”, citing new US climate law and Australia’s climate pledge, while voicing expectations that Brazil would “change its policy on climate after an impending election” and China would “re-establish a dialogue” with the US at November’s G20 summit in Indonesia.
“We need to move quickly in spite of the geopolitical situation we’re facing – indeed, because of it,” Gore tells the Financial Times
, saying that “nations must be on guard in all negotiations whether with private companies or sovereigns”. He adds that “European governments must push back against fossil-fuel companies’ efforts to capitalise on the energy crisis” and “resist the efforts of gas and oil and coal sellers to lock in long-term increased dependencies on fossil fuels”. He accuses fossil-fuel companies of using “legacy networks of influence”, similar to tobacco companies, and that asset managers have a “fiduciary duty to their clients” to factor in “non-financial considerations such as climate risk”.
reports that Biden is “set to miss” a UN closed-door meeting on climate action in New York today, “stoking concern” that other G7 leaders will miss the session “meant to help pave the way” for COP27 later this year. The story says that Biden’s – and French president Macron’s – absence “underscores a warning” inherent in UN chief António Guterres’ speech
on Tuesday that “climate action is being put on the back burner”. The meeting, being hosted by Guterres and the president of Egypt, will be attended by US climate envoy John Kerry. However, Biden is expected to be at another meeting “across Manhattan, already snarled by traffic from visiting diplomats’ motorcades”.
Separately, the head of EU climate change policy Frans Timmermans has said the US “may be able to avoid” the EU’s carbon border tax, Reuters
reports. “If the US has the same trajectory as we have in terms of emission reduction, then…the ‘carbon club’ is on the table. Because that means that the carbon footprint of a ton of steel in the US is comparable to the carbon footprint of a ton of steel in Europe – then you don’t need a carbon border adjustment mechanism,” Timmermans is quoted as saying. “This is probably not going to apply with other major trading partners. But between the EU and US, I don’t fear that…I think we’re still in parallel.”