Opinion | A Gore-Kerry Political Climate Hit

Al Gore and John Kerry in 2014.


Juan Karita/Associated Press


Al Gore,

John Kerry

and the

New York Times

gang up on someone, you know a political hit is on. That’s what happened last week to World Bank President

David Malpass,

for the sin of not turning the international lending institution into an arm of Democratic Party policy on climate change.

Mr. Gore started the pile-on by claiming that Mr. Malpass is a “climate denier.” For today’s political left, that charge is an undefined, all-purpose smear intended to banish you from polite company. Mr. Kerry last week also repeated his claim that the bank isn’t doing enough to combat climate change, which really means the bank isn’t taking dictation from him.

The Times, which was sponsoring the event where Mr. Gore made his comments, then asked Mr. Malpass about the Gore calumny and he responded with the truth, which is that he didn’t know because “I’m not a scientist.” The climate lobbyists in the press then piled on with criticism of Mr. Malpass for what the Times said was refusing “to acknowledge that the burning of fossil fuels is rapidly warming the planet.”

Bloomberg and Axios, both advocates for the Gore-Kerry agenda in their reporting, teased that the Biden Administration is looking into the issue and that Mr. Malpass’s job could be in jeopardy. Axios even hinted that Mr. Gore might then get the World Bank job.

Mr. Malpass said he isn’t resigning and made clear he thinks greenhouse gases are contributing to climate change. He has no cause to step down, having managed the bank in a commendable fashion since he took the job in 2019. He is an economist with long experience in international economics, including at the U.S. Treasury in the Reagan and Trump Administrations.

The World Bank’s main job is to alleviate poverty. This requires energy, which today is still most efficiently and affordably provided by fossil fuels. Yet Mr. Kerry recently cautioned African leaders against investing in long-term natural gas production, as if they have an alternative if they want to develop.

This is an indulgence in a place like California, which is affluent enough to pay twice what its neighboring states do for energy. But it amounts to condemning countries in Africa and much of the developing world to more decades of poverty.

Mr. Kerry may even be consigning poor countries to needless hunger from rising prices and perhaps a global shortage of natural gas for fertilizer. Climate monomania is easier to preach with a sea-side view from a bluff in Martha’s Vineyard than it is from a village with unreliable electricity in the Congo.

As the world is painfully learning, the technology doesn’t exist for a rapid transition to a world without fossil fuels. Europe is now burning coal and wood to keep warm during this winter because of its folly in disdaining the domestic production of fossil fuels in pursuit of “net-zero” dreams.

Lectures from Mr. Kerry are hard to take when he travels around the world by carbon-spewing private jet or government aircraft. As for Mr. Gore, he has been predicting climate doom for decades even as he invests in green energy backed by copious government subsidies. And what do they have to show for their decades of climate advocacy? They hold conferences and set unrealistic emissions targets. But the U.S. emissions reductions in recent decades are almost entirely the result of the expansion of natural gas production that the climate lobby wants to shut down.


The real goal in attacking Mr. Malpass is to coerce the World Bank to guarantee the losses of lending for climate causes. This means public and private lending, as our friends at the New York Sun have pointed out. Those guarantees are all but unregulated and have little political accountability. In other words, this is another attempt to socialize the risks of climate projects that may not pan out.

The World Bank has had enough problems over the years lending to corrupt governments and failing projects. But if it is going to exist, it should stay focused on its mission of promoting growth in poor nations to alleviate poverty. It shouldn’t be hijacked by rich-country climate lobbyists for their own political ends.

Journal Editorial Report: The week’s best and worst from Kim Strassel, Mary O’Grady and Dan Henninger. Image: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

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Appeared in the September 26, 2022, print edition.

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