located IN CENTRAL America, El Salvador has a land area of 8,124 sq. mi. (21,040 sq. km.), with a population of 6,948,073 (2007 est.), and a population density of 823.6 people per sq. mi. (318.7 people per sq. km.). It is the only country in Central America that does not have a Caribbean coastline. Pacific hurricanes occasionally affect the country, as was the case with Hurricane Mitch in 1998. Some 27 percent of the land is arable (the highest percentage in Central America) much of it in coffee plantations; 29 percent of the land is used for meadows and pasture, with only 5 percent forested.
One of the poorest countries in the region, electricity generation in El Salvador comes largely from fossil fuels (42.3 percent) and hydropower (35.5 percent). The country has a very low rate of carbon dioxide emissions per capita, at 0.5 metric tons in 1990, rising to one metric ton in 1997, and 0.99 metric tons in 2003. Most of the carbon dioxide emissions come from the use of liquid fuels (91 percent), with the remaining 9 percent from the manufacture of cement.
Global warming and climate change are expected to lead to flooding in some low-lying parts of El Salvador, with the threat of more insect-borne diseases such as malaria and dengue fever. The right-wing government of Alfredo Cristiani ratified the Vienna Convention in 1992, and took part in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change signed in Rio de Janeiro in May 1992, and the government of his successor, Armando Calderón Sol, signed the Kyoto Protocol to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change on June 8, 1998. The Kyoto Protocol was ratified on November 30, 1998, and took effect on February 16, 2005.
sEE ALso: Diseases; Floods; Hurricanes and Typhoons.
BIBLIoGRApHY. "Dengue in Central America: the Epidemics of 2000," Epidemiological Bulletin (v.21/4, 2000); Mike Edwards, "El Salvador," National Geographic (v.188/3, 1995); World Resources Institute, "El Salvador—Climate and Atmosphere,"www.earthtrends.wri.org (cited October 2007).
JUSTIN CORFIELD Geelong Grammar School, Australia
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