Guatemala

THE NoRTHERNMoST of the Central American republics, Guatemala has a land area of 42,042 sq. mi. (108.890 sq. km.), with a population of 12,728,111 (2007 est.), and a population density of 348.6 people per sq. mi. (134.6 people per sq. km.). Some 12 percent of the country's land area is arable, with another 24 percent used for meadows and pasture, and 35 percent is covered with forests. The mainstay of the economy is coffee, the largest cash crop in the country.

Underdeveloped, Guatemala has made only a small contribution to global warming and climate change. It has an extensive public transportation system, mainly using former U.S. school buses. Guatemala has one of the lower rates of carbon dioxide emissions per capita in the world, with 0.6 metric tons per person in 1990, rising steadily to 0.89 metric tons in 2003. The vast majority of the carbon dioxide emissions from the country come from liquid fuel (92 percent), with just under 8 percent from the manufacture of cement, and a negligible amount from gaseous fuels. Most of the carbon dioxide emissions are for electricity, with 50.3 percent of the electricity production rates in the country from fossil fuels, and 44.5 percent from hydropower. Guatemala also has a high rate of carbon monoxide emissions.

Increasing sea temperatures have caused worry from conservation groups that this change might affect the beaches at Monterrico, which have extensive mangrove wetlands, and are often visited by sea turtles. Increasing sea temperatures are also likely to lead to flooding, with the possibility of increased risk of malaria and dengue fever. The Guatemalan government of President Marco Vinicio Cerezo Arevalo ratified the Vienna Convention in 1987. The government of President Jorge Serrano Elias took part in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change signed in Rio de Janeiro in May 1992, and the government of President Alvaro Arzu Irigoyen signed the Kyoto Protocol to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change on July 10, 1998, which was ratified on October 5, 1999, and went into effect on February 16, 2005.

See ALSo: Diseases; Floods.

BIBLIogRAPHY. "Dengue in Central America: The Epidemics of 2000," Epidemiological Bulletin (v.21/4, 2000); B.R. DeWalt and Robert Hudgens, Farming Systems Research and Extension Activities in Guatemala: A Results Inventory (USAID Science and Technology Bureau, Office of Agriculture, Guatemala City, 1988); Rene Johnston and Alfredo Maul, "Arqueologia e Historia del Rio Pensativo," Revista de Historia de America (Mexico City) (v.128, 2001); World Resources Institute, "Guatemala—Climate and Atmosphere," www.earthtrends.wri.org (cited October 2007).

JUSTIN CORFIELD Geelong Grammar School, Australia

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