Mongolia

the landlocked country of Mongolia, bordered by China and Russia, has a land area of 603,909 sq. mi. (1,565,000 sq. km.). With a population of 2,629,000 (2006 est.), and a population density of 4.4 people per sq. mi. (1.7 people per sq. km.), the country has the lowest population density in the world. Six percent of the land is arable, 10 percent is forested, and 81 percent of the country is officially registered as meadows and pasture, mostly for low-intensity grazing for cattle, sheep, and goats.

The country's electricity production comes entirely from fossil fuels; the country had a per capita emission rate of carbon dioxide in 1990 of 4.5 metric tons, rising to 5.4 metric tons in the following year, and then slowly falling to 3.1 metric tons per person in 2003. With a relatively low level of private automo bile ownership, 83 percent of carbon dioxide emissions come from solid fuels, with many people using wood or coal for heating in the cold winters, and 16 percent from liquid fuels, reflecting the use of buses and automobiles to cover the large distances when traveling in the country.

Evidence of global warming in Mongolia was discovered in 2000 with the examination of some trees in the remote alpine forests located in the Tarvagatay Mountains, which are on the north side of the Hungai Mountains, in west-central Mongolia. A study of the tree-rings showed that 1980-99 had the highest temperatures of any 20-year period on record, and eight of the 10 highest growth years were since 1950.

The Mongolian government took part in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change signed in Rio de Janeiro in May 1992, ratified it in the following year, and in 1996 the government ratified the Vienna Convention. On December 15, 1999, the government accepted the Kyoto Protocol to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, which took effect on February 16, 2005.

sEE ALsO: China; Climatic Data, Tree Ring Records; Russia.

BIBLIOGRAPHY. Cynthia Beall and Melvyn Goldstein, "Past becomes Future for Mongolian Nomads," National Geographic (v.183/5, 1993); Glenn Hodges, "Mongolian Crossing," National Geographic (v.204/4, 2003); Nick Middleton, "The Dunes of the Badain Jaran," Geographical (v.78/10,

2006); World Resources Institute, "Mongolia—Climate and Atmosphere," www.earthtrends.wri.org (cited October

JUSTIN CORFIELD Geelong Grammar School, Australia

Renewable Energy 101

Renewable Energy 101

Renewable energy is energy that is generated from sunlight, rain, tides, geothermal heat and wind. These sources are naturally and constantly replenished, which is why they are deemed as renewable. The usage of renewable energy sources is very important when considering the sustainability of the existing energy usage of the world. While there is currently an abundance of non-renewable energy sources, such as nuclear fuels, these energy sources are depleting. In addition to being a non-renewable supply, the non-renewable energy sources release emissions into the air, which has an adverse effect on the environment.

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