LOCATED ON THE north coast of Borneo, Negara Brunei Darussalam has a land area of2,226 sq. mi. (5,765 sq. km.), and is divided into two parts. It has a population of 383,990 (2007 est.), and a population density of 168 people per sq. mi. (65 people per sq. km.). The country has abundant petroleum and gas supplies, which produce most of the its wealth, with one percent of the land being arable, and another one percent used for meadows and pasture. Unlike most of the other major petroleum-exporting countries, some 85 percent of the country is forested, with logging restricted and largely for local consumption, such as in the making of furniture and other higher-value activities.
In spite of its abundant forests, Brunei has the 15th highest per capita emission of carbon dioxide in the world. In 1990, its emission rate was 33.7 metric tons per person, but this was steadily reduced to 10.7 metric tons per person in 1998, after which it rose dramatically, before being reduced to 12.7 metric tons per person in 2003. In terms of its carbon dioxide emissions by source, 55 percent is from gaseous fuels, 28 percent from liquid fuels, 13 percent from gas flaring, and 4 percent from the manufacture of cement.
Electricity production, which is entirely from fossil fuels, accounts for 38 percent of the emissions. With an extremely high standard of living, much of the electricity consumption is spent on household use and air conditioning. Until the mid-1990s, there was very limited public transport in the country (with the exception of the water taxis at Bandar Seri Begawen, the capital). The system has been greatly improved, although there remains a high level of private car ownership, with the result that transportation accounts for 16 percent of the country's carbon dioxide emissions.
The Brunei government sent observers to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change signed in Rio de Janeiro in May 1992, but so far the government has not expressed an opinion on the Kyoto Protocol to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
SEE ALSO: Forests; Natural Gas; Oil, Consumption of; Oil, Production of.
BIBLIOGRAPHY. "Brunei Darussalam—Climate and Atmosphere," www.earthtrends.wri.org (cited October 2007); A.P. Dykes, "Climatic Patterns in a Tropical Rainforest in Brunei," Geographical Journal (v.166/1, 2000).
Justin Corfield Geelong Grammar School, Australia
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