located IN WEST Africa, Ghana was formerly the British colony of the Gold Coast, and has a land area of 92,098 sq. mi. (238,534 sq. km.), with a population of 23 million (2005 est.), and a population density of 215 people per sq. mi. (93 people per sq. km.). The country's economy has an extensive agricultural base, with 12 percent of the land arable, and a further 22 percent used for meadows and pasture, mainly cattle, but also sheep and goats. The cattle are responsible for some of the methane emissions. Forests cover 35 percent of the country, and the timber industry is regulated.
Ghana has had a relatively low per capita carbon dioxide emission rate, with 0.2 metric tons per person in 1990, rising to 0.37 metric tons per person by 2003. Some 77 percent of this comes from liquid fuels, the vast majority from the transportation sector, which makes up 42 percent of the country's carbon emissions. The remaining 23 percent of carbon emissions comes from cement manufacturing, and a negligible amount from solid fuels. The main reason for the extremely low per capita carbon emission rate is because 69.6 percent of Ghana's electricity production comes from hydropower, with the remainder from fossil fuels. There is also an efficient train service covering Accra, Kumasi, and Takoradi; and bus service connects the major towns.
Global warming is expected to lead to an increased rate of flooding in Ghana. This may provide the possibility for further mosquito breeding, leading to higher rates of malaria and dengue fever, and may also cause the spread of bilharzia. The Ghanian government of Jerry Rawlings ratified the Vienna Convention in 1989, and took part in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change signed in Rio de Janeiro in May 1992. Ghana accepted the Kyoto Protocol to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change on May 30, 2003, which took effect on February 16, 2005.
SEE ALSo: Diseases; Floods; Transportation.
BiBLioGRAPHY. K.B. Dickson and George Benneh, A New Geography of Ghana (Longman, 1988); "Ghana—Climate and Atmosphere," www.earthtrends.wri.org (cited October 2007); A.K.L. Ussher, Climatic Maps of Ghana for Agriculture (Ghana Meterological Services, 1969); Emile Vercruijsse, The Political Economy of Peasant Farming in Ghana (Institute of Social Studies, 1988).
JUSTIN CORFIELD Geelong Grammar School, Australia
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