The Financial Times is turning into Paul Wolfowitz's worst nightmare. No other paper has hounded him as relentlessly. Just a few hours ago, the paper published its latest broadside. Juan José Daboub, the same Wolfowitz-appointed deputy who was already being accused of ordering the removal of family planning references from a strategic aid plan for Madagascar, is now said to have attempted to water down references to climate change in a World Bank environmental strategy paper.
The accusation is coming directly from the World Bank's chief scientist, Robert Watson:
[Watson] said Mr Daboub tried to dilute references to climate change in the Clean Energy Investment Framework, a key strategy paper presented to the bankb
"He tried to water it down. He tried to take out references to climate change," Mr Watson said. Two other officials confirmed this account.
The chief scientist said Mr Daboub, who oversees the sustainable development division, tried to remove some references to climate change completely and, in other cases, replace them with the phrases "climate risk" and "climate variability," which convey greater uncertainty over the human impact on climate.
In a statement to the Financial Times Daboub denied the charges against him and declared that "I personally believe that climate change is a serious issue and I am pleased that the Bank is playing an active role in addressing it."
The infighting at the World Bank has become so politicized that it's impossible for an outsider to tell what's really true and what's just fallout from the ferocious struggle currently being waged between Wolfowitz loyalists and anti-Wolfowitz freedom fighters. But if we were to judge Wolfowitz purely on his record as a manager, we'd have little choice but to say he has been an abject failure. Doesn't the world deserve better than that?