Sunday, 27 January, 2008

Facts from India: Part 1 "Rio Earth Summit and Indian Dupliucity"

Of all the places I found this peice of very interesting information in the preface of a detective story!
At the Rio Earth Summit Conference, May 1992, the Indian Minister for the Environment, Kamal Nath announced that India was the only country in the world to have increased its area of forestation. This claim was based on satellite photographs which showed that India had boosted its forest cover from nine percent of available landmass to nineteen percent in a single year. On this basis and the understanding that satellite pictures cannot lie the World Bank paid the Indian government $500 million for development rights to all Indian forest resources. Apparently nobody at the World Bank knew that the figure nineteen percent was provided by satellite pictures taken just before the national sugarcane harvest. Mature sugarcane reaches heights of fifteen to sixteen feet and to a satellite camera looks like forest. Once the sugarcane was harvested the true area of forestation fell back to nine percent.
It was a bad deal and expensive lesson for the World Bank. In India it was business as usual.

Paul Mann—The Burning Ghats

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