THE republic OF Mozambique, formerly a Portuguese colony, located in southeast Africa, has a land area of 309,496 sq. mi. (799,400 sq. km.), with a population of 21,397,000 (2006 est.), and a population density of 65 people per sq. mi. (25 people per sq. km.). With less than a quarter of the population employed in agriculture, 4 percent of the land is arable, and 56 percent officially classed as meadows or pasture, and 20 percent of the country remains forested, although there is a large timber industry in the country.
As for Mozambique's electricity production, 96.4 percent of it comes from hydropower, and only 3.6 percent comes from fossil fuels. The Portuguese built some of the hydroelectric power plants, the major one at Cabora Bassa. During the war between the Portuguese and FRELIMO (Mozambican Liberation Front) in the 1960s and early 1970s, the Portuguese guarded the dam heavily, but FRELIMO did not attack, realizing its importance to power generation after independence in 1975. After independence, some other hydroelectric plants were built, with the Chinese helping to fund a new plant for Maputo.
As a result of the extensive use of hydropower, Mozambique's per capita carbon dioxide emissions were previously 0.1 metric tons, and fell to 0.08 metric tons by 2003. Another effect from the heavy use of hydropower is that electricity is responsible for only 1 percent of the country's total carbon dioxide emissions, with the use of solid fuels making up only 7 percent of carbon dioxide emissions. About 82 percent of carbon dioxide emissions come from liquid fuels, with transportation making up 67 percent of all emissions by source. Another important factor is the manufacture of cement, which is responsible for 11 percent of carbon dioxide emissions.
Mozambique experienced flooding in many parts of the country in February and March 2000, causing the death of about 800 people, the loss of 20,000 cattle, and the inundation of 540 sq. mi. (1,400 sq. km.) of arable land. There was another flood in December 2006, when the water overflowed the Cahora Bassa Dam, leading to the deaths of 29 people and the displacement of 121,000 more.
The Mozambique government took part in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change signed in Rio de Janeiro in May 1992, which it ratified in 1995. It also ratified the Vienna Convention in 1994, and accepted the Kyoto Protocol to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change on January 18, 2005, which took effect on April 18, 2005.
sEE ALsO: Agriculture; Floods; Transportation.
BIBLIOGRAPHY. Barry Munslow, "State Intervention in Agriculture: The Mozambican Experience," Journal of Modern
African Studies (v.22/2, 1984); David Sogge, Hammer and Hoe: Local Industries under State Socialism in Mozambique (Thesis, Institute of Social Studies, The Hague, 1985); World Resources Institute, "Mozambique—Climate and Atmosphere," www.earthtrends.wri.org (cited October 2007).
Robin S. Corfield Independent Scholar
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