Central African Republic

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A former French colony in central Africa, the Central African Republic is entirely landlocked and has an area of 240,534 sq. mi. (622,984 sq. km.), with a population of 4,216,666 (2007 est.), and a population density of 17.5 people per sq. mi. (6.8 people per sq. km.). The country is poor, with 3 percent of the land arable, and a further 5 percent used for meadows and pasture. In spite of this, many of the desperately poor people in the country survive through subsistence farming.

Some 64 percent of the country is forested, which helps reduce its already extremely low carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from the country. CO2 emissions per capita from the Central African Republic have never exceeded 0.1 metric tons per person, reaching 0.06 metric tons per person by 2003. These come entirely from the use of liquid fuels, and the country has a poor public transport network. It has also faced problems with water shortages, not only due to global warming and climate change, but also from the growing of cotton that has been used to manufacture velvet.

The government of André Kolingba took part in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change signed in Rio de Janeiro in May 1992, and it ratified the Vienna Convention in the following year. The government has so far not expressed an opinion on the Kyoto Protocol to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

SEE ALSO: Agriculture; Developing Countries; Forests.

BIBLIOGRAphY. Thomas O'Toole, The Central African Republic: The Continent's Hidden Heart (Westview Press, 1986); World Resources Institute, "Central African Republic—Climate and Atmosphere," www.earthtrends.wri.org (cited October 2007).

of 10,146,000 (2005 est.), and a population density of 20.4 people per sq. mi. (7.9 people per sq. km.). Although 85 percent of the people work in agriculture, only three percent of the land is arable; a further 36 percent of land is used for pasture, much of it with extremely poor soil. Some 26 percent of the country is forested, and this has lessened the already extremely low carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Its per capita emission rate is 0.01 metric tons per person, the second lowest rate in the world, only slightly more than Somalia.

All of Chad's CO2 emissions come from liquid fuels. The country has a very small public transportation system, with most people traveling long distances by hitching rides with trucks. The railway line planned in 1958 to link Bangui in the Central African Republic with N'Djamena, Chad's capital, was never completed. As a result, many of the elite and middle-class use cars, adding to air pollution. The government of Hissene Habré ratified the Vienna Convention in 1989. His successor, Idriss Déby, took part in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change signed in Rio de Janeiro in May 1992.

Although the Déby government has not expressed its stance on the Kyoto Protocol to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, Chad is likely to be one of the countries most affected by climate change and global warming. This is particularly apparent through the marginalization of agricultural land, the reduction of rainfall, the increased demand for water for agricultural irrigation, and temperature change. These environmental factors have led to a dramatic reduction in the size of Lake Chad, which has decreased in size from 9,650 sq. mi. (25,000 sq. km.) in 1963, to 521 sq. mi. (1,350 sq. km.) in 2007.

SEE ALSO: Developing Countries; Drought; Land Use; Transportation.

Justin Corfield Geelong Grammar School, Australia

Chad

BIBLIOGRAphY. Daniel Glick, "GeoSigns," National Geographic (v.206/3, 2004); Marie-Therese Sarch and Charon Birkett, "Fishing and Farming at Lake Chad: Responses to Lake-Level Fluctuations," Geographical Journal (v.166/2, 2000); World Resources Institute, "Chad—Climate and Atmosphere," www. earthtrends.wri.org (cited October 2007).

A FORMER FRENCH colony, Chad has a land area of 495,753 sq. mi. (1,284,000 sq. km.), with a population

Robin S. Corfield Independent Scholar

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