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World Bank under fire for being ‘missing in action’ on climate change
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World Bank under fire for being ‘missing in action’ on climate change

World Bank under fire for being ‘missing in action’ on climate change


President David Malpass of the World Bank pushed for the development banks to sign a joint statement. the UN COP26 climate According to people who are familiar with the talks, summit will be reduced and weakened.

The international financial institution is responsible for providing loans and grants to countries that are less developed and is crucial in distributing money to developing countries to help reduce global warming.

It has come under attack from the UN as well as climate change experts, such as former US vice-president Al Gore, who said at a recent FT conference that the World Bank had been “missing in action” on climate and “needs new leadership.”

The difficult negotiations among the development banks over their COP26 commitment ended in a statement that did NOT include any deadlines or targets.

“Malpass is the main block . . . he doesn’t think this is a priority,” said one person familiar with the talks.

In an email to the other banks, seen by the Financial Times, a World Bank Group representative said Malpass had made clear he had “no appetite for a long joint statement.” Instead he proposed “a very short statement”, which individual banks could accompany with an annex detailing their own “plans for the future”, the email said.

An earlier four-page draft statement, also seen by the FT, had said the banks would “shift financing towards low-carbon, climate resilient development” and help countries “align their national budget” with the goals of the Paris accord, which seeks to limit global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, ideally.

The final two-page statement said the institutions would “build on our track records of supporting” such low-carbon investments, and omitted the budget commitment.

Other wording in the draft that was not in the final statement included that the “years to 2030 are crucial” and that “finance flows must urgently be made compatible with Paris Agreement goals.”

The World Bank “absolutely disputed” that it had pushed for a weaker commitment or less ambition. “There wasn’t consensus among MDBs [multilateral development banks] to announce commitments beyond what they had already announced or were preparing to announce,” it said.

The African Development Bank and the Asian Development Bank signed the joint statement.

Selwin Hart, UN secretary-general’s special adviser on climate action, spoke at COP26. lambasted the World Bank Group for being “an ongoing underperformer” on climate change.

It was “shocking and deeply disappointing”, he said, that the institution had not committed to aligning its financing with limiting warming to 1.5C.

Instead, the World Bank Group promised in its June climate plan to align most of its financing by 2023 with the less ambitious Paris goal of limiting warming to “well below” 2C.

In a letter to the FT, the World Bank Group said Hart’s criticism “does not accurately reflect our climate leadership,” noting that it was the biggest Multilateral provider of climate-related financing

However, the group chose not to join the various countries and other banks of development. pledged at COP26To end public financing for oil, coal, and gas out of the country by 2022. It did not include a deadline to eliminate direct and indirect fossil fuel financing in its June plan.

Climate experts questioned The environmental credentials Malpass was nominated by Donald Trump and appointed in 2019.

In a 2010 debate for the Republican nomination, the former Bear Stearns economist said he did not believe that carbon dioxide generated by human activity was warming the planet, according to an Associated Press report of the event.

When asked in 2018 whether development banks should finance renewable energy rather than carbon-intensive projects, Malpass, then a US Treasury official, said: “I don’t know that additional . . . legislation is needed in this regard.” 

A researcher at the World Bank wrote an October report. opinion piece that Malpass “has neither the vision nor credibility to make the World Bank a climate leader.” 

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