Groups call on World Bank President David Malpass to be replaced over failure on climate action

BERLIN, Germany  — Today, 77 groups sent a letter to World Bank Governors and Executive Directors calling for President David Malpass to be replaced for failing to take adequate action on climate change. The groups also called on Executive Directors to establish stronger climate and social justice qualifications for management personnel responsible for the Bank’s climate and energy work. The call comes during the 2021 Annual Meeting of the World Bank Group.  

Since the Paris Agreement, the World Bank has provided $12 billion in direct project finance to fossil fuels, more than any other multilateral development bank. The figure does not include billions more in support to fossil fuels through policy based lending and financial intermediaries.  

In the letter, the groups also criticize the Word Bank‘s Climate Change Action Plan (CCAP) released this summer for allowing the bank to keep supporting fossil fuels for 2-4 more years. 

Groups issued the following statements:  

“The leadership of the World Bank has failed to help countries reduce their dependency on fossil fuels. Worse, there are forces in the Bank that help big corporations continue to rake in fossil fuel profits at the expense of the planet. This must stop.” Ute Koczy, Urgewald 

“The recently released Climate Change Action Plan was a litmus test of World Bank leaders’ ability to steer the organization on climate, and it is a failure. The incoherent Plan takes a selective and vague approach to addressing a just transition, fossil fuel phase-out, and Paris Alignment, promotes false solutions like CCS and offsets, and rolls out the red carpet to private finance rather than focusing on strong public responses. Personnel is policy: The World Bank needs leadership that will support countries with real green and inclusive development pathways.” Luisa Galvao, Friends of the Earth U.S.

“Continuous World Bank fossil fuel investments are not only accelerating climate change’s worldwide physical devastation but also impoverishing and undermining the health of women, girls, men, boys and LGBTQ people, whom the Bank claims to be helping escape poverty.” Elaine Zuckerman, Gender Action 

“In Mozambique, the World Bank works quietly behind the scenes to make it easy for the fossil fuel industry to enter and break down the economy, environment and communities of the country. Their role in perpetuating the ‘resource curse’ is not as visible as Total, ExxonMobil and other big companies, but it is how they lobby to change laws and processes to benefit the industry, and finance those changes to ensure they obtain the outcome they want, that makes them an invisible monster.” Anabela Lemos, Justiça Ambiental/Friends of the Earth Mozambique  

In its recent “Net Zero by 2050” report the International Energy Agency called for the end to all new  investments in fossil fuels. The United Nations Sustainable Energy for All initiative has determined that finance for fossil fuels as a means to provide energy access in developing countries should be terminated. Yet, the World Bank is still triggering fossil-friendly policy reforms and providing technical assistance aimed at increasing fossil fuel investments in dozens of countries. 

The groups’ letter to the World Bank is also part of a global protest rally called World Bank Action Day. It is a series of round the clock actions starting at noon in every time zone from Thursday, October 14, to Friday, October 15. More information about World Bank Action Day can be found here: https://worldbankactionday.org/ 

The letter is available here. 

Press contacts:
Denis Schimmelpfennig, Urgewald, +49 176 801 461 72, [email protected]
Kaela Bamberger, Friends of the Earth U.S., +1 202-222-0703, [email protected] 

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