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Title:How the World Bank’s new boss is navigating a clash over climate change

Fighting climate change increasingly comes down to money - who has it, who doesn’t and who has the levers to help the world’s developing countries withstand the ravages of climate change.

Ajay Banga controls some of those levers. In June, after decades as a corporate executive, he became the first person born in the Global South to lead the World Bank Group, a powerful set of institutions that last year issued $128 billion in loans, grants, investments and guarantees.

But while the Indian-born Banga may appear to have the credentials to bridge the divide between rich and poor countries, he faces multiple challenges just five months into the job.

Climate activists say that he’s not doing enough. Congressional Republicans refuse to appropriate the funds Banga needs to prove his critics wrong. And leaders from some developing nations reject the idea that the World Bank should have permanent control of a fund to help them cope with climate change, saying that it gives the United States too much influence.

Later this month, scores of delegations will convene in Dubai for the global climate conference known as COP28, where the World Bank will again be at the center of a dispute between poor and rich nations.

“My job is not to be where politics comes to die,” Banga said in an interview with The Washington Post. “My job is to care about poor people and development and climate, and try to keep the politics away and find areas of common interest.”

Banga is well aware the 79-year-old institution he runs faces deep distrust over past mistakes - such as financing destructive dam projects and fossil fuel ventures. Having replaced a Trump appointee who seemed indifferent to climate change concerns, he has made clear he intends to steer the World Bank Group in a different direction.

During a recent discussion at the Council on Foreign Relations, he acknowledged the urgency of climate change: “We need to get past the talk because my...

Organization:Washington Post - Climate and Environment
Date Added:11/20/2023 6:41:19 AM