located IN CENTRAL Europe, the Principality of Liechtenstein is landlocked, with Germany as its northern neighbor, and Switzerland along its southern border. It has a land area of 62 sq. mi. (160 sq. km.), a population of 35,000 (2006 est.), and a population density of 557 people per sq. mi. (215 people per sq. km.). Twenty-four percent of the land is arable, with 16 percent used for meadows and pasture, and 20 percent of the country forested.
With a very high standard of living in the country, it has a relatively high level of per capita carbon dioxide emissions, largely because of its high per capita electricity production, and high private ownership of automobiles, in spite of having an efficient level of public transport in Vaduz, the capital. However, much of the automobile usage takes place outside of Liechtenstein.
In the foothills of the Alps, Liechtenstein is threatened by rising temperatures from climate change and global warming, noticeable in the lessening of the snow-covered Alpine peaks. The Liechtenstein 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 June 29, 1998. It was ratified by the Landtag, the Liechtenstein parliament, on December 3, 2004, and it took effect on March 3, 2005.
sEE ALso: Germany; Glaciers, Retreating; Switzerland.
BIBLIoGRAPHY. Walter Kranz, ed., The Economy of the Principality of Liechtenstein (Government Press and Information Office of the Principality of Liechtenstein, 1982); Erla Zwingle, "Meltdown in the Alps," National Geographic (v.209/2, 2006).
Justin Corfield Geelong Grammar School, Australia
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