Biden administration may try to oust World Bank head

Biden officials have considered trying to oust World Bank President David Malpass, who took office during the Trump administration, because they believe he’s weak on climate, according to people familiar with the matter.

Why it matters: Administration officials are deeply concerned by Malpass’ failure to answer this week when asked if climate change was caused by humans. His response provides ammunition to officials who want Biden to spend some political capital to attempt to remove him.

  • But officials know that replacing Malpass would be a messy process and they are unsure how — or even if — the U.S. can orchestrate his ouster.
  • Malpass was confirmed by the bank’s board of executive directors, which the White House doesn’t control.

State of play: Malpass, a Trump holdover, was viewed suspiciously by the Biden administration from the beginning. That suspicion has now been confirmed. And he’s been on thin ice for months.

  • Malpass’ refusal to acknowledge fossil fuels were warming the planet set off international furor, including calls to resign.
  • Malpass went into damage control Thursday, emailing a clarification to staff and saying on CNN: “It’s clear that greenhouse gas emissions are coming from man-made sources, including fossil fuels … I’m not a denier.”

Reality check: The fact that Biden hasn’t made a change suggests that there’s some internal resistance to ousting Malpass.


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