World Bank President David Malpass will not resign, he said Friday during a virtual conversation with Global Insider author Ryan Heath. NGOs and leading climate activists have been calling for Malpass to step down after he repeatedly dodged questions about the science behind climate change at a New York Times event Tuesday.
“I don't even know — I'm not a scientist,” he said at the event.
On Friday, Malpass apologized for those remarks.
“When asked, ‘Are you a climate denier?’ I should’ve said no,” Malpass said, adding later, “It was a poorly chosen line, I regret that, because we as an organization are using the science every day.”
None of the 187 countries that are members of the World Bank have asked him to resign, Malpass said, and shareholders have voiced “strong support, for me, for the World Bank,” he told Heath.
Malpass also said he would “absolutely” accept training from climate scientists to improve his knowledge of the science behind climate change.
“That wasn’t a good phrase for me to use,” Malpass reiterated. “We have a lot of input from our global scientific community.”
At the White House, press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre condemned Malpass’s earlier comments at a press briefing Friday, but declined to say whether the White House supported removing him from his post, noting that doing so would require support from a majority of shareholders.
"We disagree with the comments made by President Malpass. We expect the World Bank to be a global leader of climate ambition and mobilization as well of significantly more climate finance for developing countries," Jean-Pierre said.