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Biden is considering ousting Trump’s climate-skeptical head of the World Bank

The Biden administration has considered ousting World Bank President David Malpass over concerns of his “weak” stance on climate change, Axios reported Friday, citing sources familiar with the matter. 

One of his potential replacements: none other than the man who called Malpass a “climate denier” this week—former Vice President Al Gore. 

At a New York Times climate event on Tuesday, after Gore’s remark, Malpass was repeatedly asked by moderators if he believed in the scientific consensus that the burning of fossil fuels was warming the planet. He responded, saying, “I don’t even know. I’m not a scientist.”

The Times’ climate reporter who asked Malpass the question tweeted that he’d tried to give him the “opportunity to respond to Gore.” 

Malpass’s answer generated massive backlash as climate change groups and activists demanded he be fired. Christiana Figueres, a leader on the issue of global climate change, chimed in with her concerns after Malpass’s comment. 

“It’s simple. If you don’t understand the threat of #climatechange to developing countries you cannot lead the world’s top international development institution,” she tweeted. 

The World Bank’s role is to reduce poverty by lending money to governments of developing countries to improve their economies and their standards of living. 

It’s not the first time Malpass has come under fire for his position on climate change. Last year, over 70 groups sent a letter to World Bank governors and executive directors calling for Malpass to be replaced for “failing to take adequate action on climate change.” In that, they say, the World Bank has failed to help countries reduce their dependence on fossil fuels. 

Gore has criticized Malpass previously. At a Financial Times conference last year, the publication reported, Gore said the World Bank was “missing in action” and “needs new leadership.”  

It appears that the Biden administration also views Trump’s nominee with suspicion, Axios reported. Malpass’s latest comment may have provided it with the ammunition for his ouster. 

“We expect the World Bank Group to be a global leader of climate ambition…We have [made]—and will continue to make—to make that expectation clear to World Bank leadership,” a Treasury spokesperson told Axios.

Malpass has already begun damage control. In an interview with CNN on Thursday, he backtracked, claiming that the burning of fossil fuels is behind the plant’s warming. In that interview, when asked if he was a “climate denier,” Malpass answered: “I’m not a denier.”

“I don’t always do the best job in answering the questions or hearing what the questions are,” he told CNN. 

When asked specifically about Gore’s labeling him a climate denier, Malpass said: “I don’t know the political motivations behind that. It’s clear that greenhouse gas emissions are coming from manmade sources, including fossil fuels, methane, agricultural uses and industrial uses. And so we’re working hard to change that.”

Malpass also sent a message to World Bank staff, seen by Bloomberg, that read: “It’s clear that greenhouse-gas emissions from human activities are causing climate change and that the sharp increase in the use of coal, diesel and heavy fuel oil in both advanced economies and developing countries is creating another wave of the climate crisis. Anything seen in a different light is incorrect and regrettable.”

On Friday, Malpass told Politico’s Ryan Heath that he will not resign but recognizes his response as a “poorly chosen line,” which he apologizes for and says he regrets. 

In its report, Axios said “Biden officials have gone as far as gaming out potential replacements” for Malpass. In addition to Gore, they listed former Secretary of State John Kerry, former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg, and Rockefeller Foundation president Raj Shah. 

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Bank of America breaks down brutal reality of European energy crisis, warns against ‘false sense of security’

Seven months after Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine, an energy crisis continues to roil Europe. Things might only get worse from here.

In a global research note by Bank of America released Friday, analysts warned that higher storage levels of gas in Europe still might not be enough to hold the continent over in the cold months ahead. 

“One winter’s storage is not a long-term solution,” the bank’s analysts wrote.

European gas inventories are above seasonal averages at 88% full, they noted. Storage levels could rise above 90% in October—which could put “pressure” on spot prices (current prices at which an asset could be bought or sold). 

“Yet we caution against a false sense of security,” the analysts said. 

Their reasoning? For one, full European gas inventories represent only two months of peak winter demand. Additionally, the high prices are directly responsible for higher levels of storage—so if prices decrease, storage could deteriorate. 

This comes as leaks hit the Nord Stream pipelines in what both the European Union and U.S. President Joe Biden called deliberate acts. Although Russia had already cut its gas supply to Europe for some time now, reports of the leaks and the question of who’s to blame have escalated tensions. 

“Whatever the cause, it raises the possibility that gas may never flow via Nord Stream again— thereby locking in our ‘ugly’ supply disruption scenario of ~€200/MWh Europe gas prices,” the analysts wrote. “This is a picture that we see persisting for several years until tangible new LNG (liquefied natural gas) supply comes to the market from 2025/26.”

Before the war, the European Union relied on Russia for 40% of its natural gas supply. Since the supply was cut off, countries throughout Europe have been working to reduce their gas and electricity consumption by placing restrictions on both businesses and consumers—all while increasing their imports of liquefied natural gas. 

But the fear of what’s to come remains. 

If Russia’s gas imports cease, Europe’s total gas supply for 2023 will be 25% lower than 2019 levels, even if Europe makes maximum use of its existing capacities in LNG regasification and planned ones in floating storage regasification units.

The bank’s analysts also warned that more demand deconstruction—a sustained decline prompted by a prolonged period of high prices or constrained supply—is needed as European gas demand increases 60% across colder months.

“Demand destruction to date might be balancing markets, but we highlight that a 15% reduction in summer demand is very different from -15% during winter,” they wrote. “Peak demand months are as much as double summer lulls, hence nominal demand destruction may have to rise in step in order to balance flows.”

Additionally, the bank’s analysts suggested the effects of the gas crisis will spill over into coming years, in terms of sustained higher gas prices for Europeans.

“The bottom line is that a permanent alteration in daily flows has a much greater impact than starting storage levels, which can only be consumed once.”

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Megan Thee Stallion launches new mental health website

In early 2017, I was chastised by my manager for not smiling as much as I used to at work. She was concerned that my “attitude” was bringing down team morale. Meanwhile, I didn’t feel like there was much to smile about regarding current events, especially as the Muslim Ban took effect.

Damn, I thought to myself, are Black girls allowed to have bad days?

Fast forward to 2022 and mega rapper Megan Thee Stallion says yes.

Last weekend, Megan launched badbitcheshavebaddaystoo.com. The website, which is named after a line in her song, “Anxiety,” features a hub of mental health and wellness resources, including sites specifically for Black people and the LGBTQIA+ community such as Therapy for Black Girls, Therapy for Black Men and LGBTQ Psycotherapist of Color Directory

When I first started following Megan back in 2018, it was because of her sharp-shooting lyrics and yes, her body-ody-ody-ody. Here was a brilliant and beautiful Black woman unafraid to speak her mind and unapologetic about her curves and sexuality–my kind of woman.

But after learning more about her personal story–starting therapy after losing both of her parents; her promise to graduate college to make them proud; our shared love of fellow Houston native, Beyoncé–I fell even more in love with her. The rapper has also never shied away from being vulnerable and talking about her struggles, showing generations of Black women that you don’t always have to have everything together and it’s okay to have bad days.

In an interview last fall with actress Taraji P. Henson last fall for her Facebook Watch series, Peace of Mind with Taraji, the rapper talked about her mental health and maintaining a positive outlook despite hardships.

“I feel like right now mental health is more important to me, more than ever, because I have more pressure on me than I feel like I used to have… when I was Megan, and I wasn’t as criticized and under such a magnifying glass as I am now,” she says. 

Megan’s resilience in the face of constant adversity is admirable, and I wish Black women didn’t have to be so resilient all the time. Because heaven forbid if we have an off day and feel like lashing out at the world–no one likes angry Black women, even though we have a million reasons to be.

After all, her new album, Traumazine, a fictional chemical that is “released in the brain when it is forced to deal with painful emotions caused by traumatic events and experiences.” What Megan is doing by acknowledging she struggles with difficult times is making it safe for people from marginalized communities–communities where talk of mental health is still very much taboo–to do the same. 

Not only is she making mental health resources accessible, she’s ensuring they’re culturally relevant so they reach her fans (and hopefully countless others) where they are. And she’s vehemently discarding the strong Black woman trope so many of us have been raised to perpetuate. 

By simply being herself, Megan is demonstrating that Black women can be soft. Black women can be angry. Black women can have bad days, too. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

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