Antigua and Barbuda

ANTIGuA AND BARBuDA, located in the Caribbean, are part of the chain of islands known as the Leeward Islands. The two main islands of Antigua and Barbuda have, respectively, land areas of about 100 sq. mi. (281 sq. km.) and 57 sq. mi. (161 sq. km.), with a total population of 82,786 (2005 est.), the vast majority of whom live on the island of Antigua, with the island of Redonda, which is currently uninhabited, having dependency status. Antigua and Barbuda have a population density of 394 per sq. mi. (184 per sq. km.).

The main environmental problems facing Antigua and Barbuda are hurricanes and tropical storms from July through October, and irregular droughts. In terms of carbon dioxide per capita, Antigua and Barbuda rank 78th in the world, with 4.8 metric tons of carbon dioxide per capita in 1990, and the amount falling and rising slightly until 2003 when the country exceeded its 1990 figure, recording 5 metric tons per person. In recent years, there has been a steady bleaching of coral reefs near Antigua, with the rising temperature of the waters also affecting the diversity of fish in the coral reefs. It is also expected that with the rising sea level, parts of Antigua and Barbuda that are low-lying could be flooded.

Antigua's role in global warming is related to its tourist industry. This is both in terms of the flights to and from the country taken by tourists, often from distant locations, and also the heavy demand the tourists make on the infrastructure of the island in terms of power (most of which is produced through using liquid fuels) and water usage, as well as increasing the amount of imported food and produce on the island. To try to offset this, there have been proposals since the mid-1980s to try to harness wind energy.

To combat climate change and global warming, the government of Antigua is a party to the Kyoto Protocol to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, having signed it on March 16, 1998, and ratifying it on November 3, 1998. On June 4, 2007, W. Baldwin Spencer, the prime minister and foreign minister of Antigua and Barbuda, in his speech to the 37th Session of the Organization of American States Assembly in Panama City, urged that greater action should be taken in the world to confront climate change. Antiguan delegates have also taken part in raising the issue of climate change and global warming at other international forums. However, some have challenged Antigua's environmental status under the government of Vere Bird and his son Lester Bird because Antigua traditionally votes with Japan on the International Whaling Commission (against the protection of whales), and has done little to reduce the heavy reliance on tourists using air travel.

sEE ALso: Hurricanes and Typhoons; Tourism.

BIBLioGRAPHY. Bernadette Njoku and Chrisztopher Gadomski, "Renewables in Antigua," Independent Energy (v.19/8, 1989); "Spencer Wants Collaborative Action on Climate Change," Jamaica Gleaner (September 26, 2007); "Statement by W. Baldwin Spencer ... to the 37th Session of the Organization of American States Assembly, June 4, 2007," (cited August 2007).

JUSTIN CORFIELD Geelong Grammar School, Australia

Renewable Energy 101

Renewable Energy 101

Renewable energy is energy that is generated from sunlight, rain, tides, geothermal heat and wind. These sources are naturally and constantly replenished, which is why they are deemed as renewable. The usage of renewable energy sources is very important when considering the sustainability of the existing energy usage of the world. While there is currently an abundance of non-renewable energy sources, such as nuclear fuels, these energy sources are depleting. In addition to being a non-renewable supply, the non-renewable energy sources release emissions into the air, which has an adverse effect on the environment.

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