Environmentalist and former Vice President Al Gore said Tuesday that it’s “crazy” that the leader of the World Bank – picked by former President Trump – is able to stay in his job after he refused to embrace the theory that the human race is having a devastating impact on the Earth’s climate.
Trump picked his former economic adviser, David Malpass, to lead the World Bank in 2019. Malpass has received heavy criticism since last September, when he refused to say if he agreed that burning fossil fuels has accelerated global warming. Instead, he said, “I am not a scientist.”
Malpass, whose term expires in 2024, said days later that he should have said, “no” when asked if he was a climate denier. But Gore and others have called for his resignation since then.
“We need new leadership,” Gore said at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Tuesday. “It’s not personal to the person who has a long history of being climate denier. It’s absurd to have a climate denier in charge of the World Bank when the world is trying to solve the climate crisis. It’s crazy.”
Gore said the World Bank and other multinational development banks need to be reformed to make it less expensive for developing countries in Africa and elsewhere to finance the installation and use of green technology, without forcing them to pay higher interest rates. But he said the World Bank is failing to do that.
“The purpose of the World Bank… is to take those top layers of risk off the top to level the playing field so that countries like Nigeria… don’t have to pay a 7X interest rate but can compete effectively,” Gore said. Gore also said the World Bank’s new blueprint for helping developing countries is “very disappointing.”
Gore has been an outspoken advocate of taking dramatic steps to fight climate change since his failed presidential bid in 2000.
Last year, Gore said it’s time to “say goodbye to coal, oil and gas,” which make up 80% of America’s energy consumption. He said it’s also time to start demanding that wealthy nations “contribute meaningfully to help vulnerable countries build their resilience to the climate impacts they are already experiencing and help them to deploy the green solutions that can help create jobs and grow economies.”
He urged developed nations and investors from the private sector to commit to “speeding climate finance for developing countries.”
At Davos this week, Gore said he supported last year’s Inflation Reduction Act, which promises billions in new spending for climate initiatives.
When asked whether he worried that the tax breaks and other subsidies in the Inflation Reduction Act overly favor U.S. companies and might be seen as an act of protectionism, Gore said he hopes Europe and other parts of the world match what the U.S. has done, and said he hopes it encourages a “race to the top.”