THE northernmost of the three Baltic States, the definition usually excluding Finland, Estonia has a land area of 17,413 sq. mi. (45,226 sq. km.), with a population of 1,342,409 (2007 est.), and a population density of 75 people per sq. mi. (29 people per sq. km.). With 25 percent of the country arable land, 11 percent is used for meadows and pasture, 44 percent of the country remains forested.
With a high standard of living, and located in northern Europe, the energy usage in the country is high, with 7.9 billion kWh (2001) produced each year, and some 1.2 billion kWh exported. Only 0.1 percent of this comes from hydropower, with 99.7 percent from fossil fuels. This has resulted in Estonia having the 10th highest per capita carbon dioxide emissions of any country in the world: 16.1 metric tons in 1992, falling to 13.6 metric tons in 2003. Of the country's carbon dioxide emissions, 75 percent come from solid fuels, mainly coal, and also wood; 17 percent from liquid fuels, and 7 percent from gaseous fuels, with 1 percent from cement manufacturing. Because of the cold climate in the winter, 75 percent of carbon dioxide emissions come from public electricity and heat production, with 9 percent from transportation, and 7 percent from manufacturing and construction.
Global warming and climate change are causing higher average temperatures in Estonia. In addition, some of the snow has melted, creating more land for farming. However, this has led to a change in the crops that can be grown, and the warmer temperatures in the seas around Estonia have affected the local fishery industry. In 1989, the government of the Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic (a constituent part of the Soviet Union), ratified the Vienna Convention, and the Estonian government 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 December 3, 1998, ratifying it on October 14, 2002; it took effect on February 16, 2005. When ratifying the Kyoto Protocol, Estonia undertook to reduce per capita carbon dioxide emissions by 8 percent before 2012.
sEE ALso: Agriculture; Coal.
BIBLioGRApHY. Vera Rich, "Baltic States Struggle for Total Power," New Scientist (v.1818, 1992); Uno Valk, Eesti sood (Valgus, 1988); World Resources Institute, "Estonia—Climate and Atmosphere," www.earthtrends.wri.org (cited October 2007).
JUSTIN CORFIELD Geelong Grammar School, Australia
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