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Leaders create news as they stake out new territory, and they also create turbulence that can be harnessed by institutional reformers when conditions are right. The conditions were undoubtedly right at the World Bank in 1992.
One very good thing that can be said about Robert Zoellick's maiden speech as World Bank president today is that it was much better than the advance account in yesterday's Wall Street Journal (subscription required) would have led listeners to expect.
Last month, I reported on the first public release of China's Export-Import Bank's environmental policy and suggested that China's overtures of increased transparency might present an opportunity for other donors to engage China in a more cooperative partnership. It seems the International Financial Corp. (IFC), the World Bank branch for private sector lending, is doing just that.
Politicians and protesters in Washington today for the first Climate Crisis Action Day would do well to remember that global institutions have a potentially valuable role to play in addressing global warming.