A growing number of White House officials are publicly criticizing David Malpass, Trump’s World Bank president, after he caught flak for dodging a question about climate change.
Malpass has faced calls to resign after appearing on a panel in which he did not directly answer whether he supported the scientific consensus that burning fossil fuels is fueling climate change, saying: “I don’t even know, I’m not a scientist.” and that is not a question.’ The comments have further motivated White House officials, who have long pushed for his removal from office, and brought other administration officials closer to that position, according to two sources.
President Joe Biden has so far refused to answer whether he still trusts the head of the World Bank. And White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre on Friday disagreed with Malpass’s climate comments.
“We do not agree with the comments made by President Malpass. We also expect the World Bank to be a global leader in climate ambition and mobilisation,” Jean-Pierre told reporters on Friday, adding: “The Treasury Department, which oversees our engagement with international financial institutions, has done so and will continue to do so. hope is clear for the management of the World Bank.’
Asked later if that had caused the president to refuse to say whether he trusted Malpass, Jean-Pierre said: “I made it very clear where we stand on that.”
John Podesta, Biden’s top climate adviser, told Reuters on Friday that Malpass should not have spoken about the scientific consensus on climate change.
“I would say, in particular, it’s time for a leader of an organization that serves billions of poor people around the world to not mince words about the science being real,” Podesta said.
Podesta would not directly say whether he should resign from the World Bank, telling Reuters: “Malpass should represent the people the World Bank serves.”
Malpass’s ouster has been a long-standing debate within the future administration, a stance that climate advocates – inside and outside the administration – have always seen. But it is not clear how, exactly, he would be expelled.
Since his opening panel remarks, Malpass has tried to correct the course.
He told Politico that he will not resign, but apologized for the comments on Friday. He also told the outlet that he would “absolutely” support the training of climate scientists to improve understanding of climate change.
“When asked: ‘Are you a climate denier?’ I would have to say no,” Malpass said. “It was the wrong line. I regret it because as an organization we are using science every day.”
He told CNN on Thursday that climate change was “clearly” caused by humans burning fossil fuels.
Asked by CNN’s Julia Chatterley if he was a climate change denier, as former Vice President Al Gore has called him, he replied: “I don’t know the political motivations behind that. It’s clear that greenhouse gas emissions come from man-made sources, including fossil fuels. , methane, agricultural uses and industrial uses. And so we’re working hard to change that.”
“I’m not a denier, and I don’t know why that message … gets convoluted and I’m not always good at conveying the exact message,” he said.
Malpass has faced calls for his resignation since comments he made at a panel discussion at Climate Week in New York on Tuesday, where he dodged a question about whether he supported the scientific consensus that humans burning fossil fuels were “rapidly and dangerously warming the planet.”
On Thursday, he told Chatterley, “I don’t always do the best job answering questions or hearing what the questions are.”