‘Hypocrisy’: The World Bank’s New Focus On Climate Threatens World’s Poorest Nations, Researchers Say

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The World Bank’s plan to focus future efforts on climate change will have a disproportionately negative impact on its poorest client nations, despite those same countries having repeatedly reported that they would prefer the bank focus on other issues, researchers at the Center for Global Development (CGD) reported Thursday.

The Biden administration named former MasterCard CEO Ajay Banga as its nominee to replace the outgoing Trump appointee David Malpass as president of the World Bank Thursday, a key step in the administration’s efforts to refocus the agency from poverty prevention and take more climate action. However, just 6% of public and private representatives from 43 client nations listed climate change as one of the top three issues facing their country, according to a review of surveys conducted by the World Bank in 2020 and 2021, the GCD researchers reported. (RELATED: Biden Announces Pick For New World Bank President)

David Malpass is the husband of Daily Caller News Foundation president Adele Malpass.

Combating climate change “is a global challenge that will have a disproportionate impact on the world’s poorest countries,” the researchers wrote. “But it is also important to listen to the Bank’s clients, especially in poorer countries. And it would be an act of hypocrisy and desertion if the institution turned its back on them to refocus on a problem that they did little to create.”

Under Malpass, climate finance more than doubled at the World Bank, from roughly $14 billion in fiscal year 2019 to nearly $32 billion in fiscal year 2022, according to the World Bank. Even as the organization expands its development agenda, poverty reduction will remain central to its mission, the World Bank says.

Of the seven client nations that reported climate change in their top ten concerns, none were members of the International Development Association (IDA), the researchers reported. The IDA is a World Bank program that offers loans and grants to the poorest nations in the world, in terms of per capita income.

Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry in September called for African nations to reduce their emissions and contribute to the battle against climate change, despite acknowledging that sub-Saharan Africa accounts for just 0.55% of harmful emissions globally, Reuters reported. In October, Kerry called for private companies, international banks and governments to divest from oil and gas in a speech that criticized oil companies’ record profits in 2022.

“One third of the Earth’s population needs dense energy to bring people up to Western standards,” Heritage Foundation economist Diana Furchtgott-Roth told the DCNF in a statement. “Many emerging economies experience regular power cuts – sometimes known as load shedding – because not enough baseload power is generated for factories and homes.”

The world’s poorest nations already contribute the least amount of emissions, and any efforts to develop necessarily require boosting emissions in the short term, Brookings Institute Senior Fellow Rahul Tongia wrote in October. Calling for such nations to attempt to cut emissions now is both “unfair and unviable,” Tongia wrote.

“The misguided policies of Western countries to discourage energy use condemn billions of people around the world to impoverished lives,” Furchtgott-Roth told the DCNF. “This poverty is collateral damage for the consciences of Western elites.”

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