07/30/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

World Bank Still Not Lending With Environment (And Disasters) In Mind: Report

Back in 1989, when I spent four months scouring the road-laced reaches of the western Amazon researching my first book, The Burning Season, I learned a lot about the power of loans to propel environmental and social progress or trouble. Road-paving projects, many underwritten by wealthy countries, were spreading ranching and logging into areas inhabited by rubber tappers and Indians, with environmental destruction and violence the result.

Since that era, when rain forest destruction achieved something close to the visibility of global warming today, the World Bank and its sister institutions, including the International Finance Corporation, have been talking the sustainability talk.

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