The World Bank

And the Environment

The article ''World Bank Turns Green, Pleasing Environmentalists,'' Oct. 13, gives a highly distorted picture of current World Bank lending.

Bank-financed environment projects, while increasing, still accounted for just 6 percent of new lending operations in fiscal year 1995. More than one-half of new bank loans went to support large-scale, sometimes controversial projects in the environmentally sensitive areas of agriculture, energy, infrastructure, industry, and urban development.

The article fails to mention the overriding problems confronting the bank, not just with respect to environmental lending, but concerning its entire outstanding $160 billion loan portfolio: an internal culture that too often rewards pushing money and big projects over all considerations of environmental, social, and economic quality.

Bruce Rich Washington

Senior Attorney and Director, International Program

Environmental Defense Fund

Castro, the Cuban dictator and criminal

Regarding the Sept. 21 ''News in Brief'' item about former President Carter meeting with Cuban exiles in Atlanta: Why does the Monitor make exceptions with this tyrant, Fidel Castro, that it never made toward any other dictator, such as Augusto Pinochet of Chile, Raoul Cedras of Haiti, or Fulgencio Batista of pre-Castro Cuba? Why doesn't the paper refer to Castro as the dictator and criminal that he really is?

In your opinion, what makes Castro's communist dictatorship better than all the rest?

Carter did not meet with a ''true'' representation of the great majority of Cubans in exile, since ''coincidentally'' these meetings were held the same day that the Jesse Helms-Dan Burton bill, which tightens the embargo on Castro, was being debated on Capitol Hill. Why can't you see this? The majority of us Cubans can.

Teddy Garcia Orange Park, Fla.

New farming methods to fit climate changes

The article ''Global Warming Is Real Many Scientists Agree,'' Oct. 10, addresses the natural and human-induced changes to climate, but there has been little attention focused on the changes to the Gulf Stream, which probably had the greatest influence on climate changes in the last century.

One positive change was the warming in the Northern Hemisphere, which opened up farming in part of Canada and Russia. This also caused the potato blight in Ireland some 125 to 150 years ago. Perhaps the lesson to be learned from this period of time is that farming must change to meet new climatic conditions and that much can be done to contain and harness these changes for the good of the people.

Bob Chernow River Hills, Wis.

Alternative energy sources

As evidence builds that global warming is a reality (Oct. 10), we need to recognize that we have few options available to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Higher energy efficiency, electric vehicles, and non-fossil-fuel-burning electricity generation are necessary. Today, for electricity, that means hydropower and nuclear power; because in spite of wishful thinking, there are no alternative energy sources that can produce large amounts of electric power in the future.

Joel R. Buchanan Oak Ridge, Tenn.

Your letters are welcome. For publication they must be signed and include your address and telephone number. Only a selection can be published and none acknowledged. Letters should be addressed to ''Readers Write'' and may be sent by mail to One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, by fax to 617-450-2317, or by Internet e-mail (200 words maximum) to OPED@RACHEL.CSPS.COM.

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