ONE OF THE constituent republics of the former Yugoslavia, the Republic of Croatia is located in the Balkans and has a land area of 21,831 sq. mi. (56,542 sq. km.), with a population of 4,493,312 (2006 est.), and a population density of 208 people per sq. mi. (81 people per sq. km.). Some 21 percent of Croatia is arable, with another 20 percent used for meadow or pasture. In addition, 37 percent of the country is forested, the pine from the region has been used for making ships since ancient times. The forestry and the lack of heavy industry have helped the environment in Croatia for many centuries, but there is now increased logging; also, up to half of the forests are affected by acid rain created by other countries.

For electricity generation, 45 percent of Croatian power comes from fossil fuels, with 55 percent from hydropower. This is generated from four hydroelectric power plants, one near the Slovenian-Hungarian border at Varazdin, and the other three are at Senj, Obrova and Zakucac, along the Adriatic Coastline. As a result of this heavy use of hydropower, Croatia has a relatively low rate of greenhouse gas emissions, given the prosperity of the country and the high automobiles ownership.

In 1992, Croatia was responsible for 3.7 metric tons per person of carbon dioxide, rising gradually to 5.3 metric tons per person in 2003. Of this, 65 percent comes from liquid fuels, 25 percent from gaseous fuels, 5 percent from solid fuels such as coal, and the remaining 5 percent from cement manufacturing. By sector, electricity production and transportation account for, respectively, 26 percent and 24 percent of all carbon dioxide emissions, with manufacturing industry accounting for another 19 percent, and other energy industries accounting for 12 percent.

Croatia became independent in 1991, and soon afterward it ratified the Vienna Convention. In May of the following year, it took part in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change signed in Rio de Janeiro in May 1992, and signed the Kyoto Protocol to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change on March 11, 1999. It was ratified eight years later, on April 27, 2007.

SEE ALSO: Climate Change, Effects; Coal; Deforestation; Forests.

BIBLIOGRAPHY. World Resources Institute, "Croatia—Climate and Atmosphere," (cited October 2007); Jeanne Oliver, Croatia (Lonely Planet, 2005).

JUSTIN CORFIELD Geelong Grammar School, Australia

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