A fisherman in Lake Kivu struggles with his boat. The lake has declined in size due to increased temperatures.

In terms of its per capita carbon dioxide emissions, Rwanda had less than 0.1 metric tons per person in 1990, with 0.07 percent in 2003, making it the 10th lowest country in terms of per capita emissions. With less than 1 percent of this coming from cement manufacturing, the remaining 99 percent is the result of the use of liquid fuels. This is because 97 percent of the country's electricity production comes from hydropower, with only 3 percent from fossil fuels.

The effects of global warming and climate change in the country have been rising average temperatures, with a decline in the size of Lake Kivu, and also less irrigation water in the marshlands around the River Kagera and from the other lakes, Lake Rwanye, Lake Ihema, and Lake Mugesera. This also represents a threat to the rainforests where the mountain gorillas live, and which are also a home for 43 species of reptiles (including many frogs) and 31 species of amphibians.

The Rwanda government took part in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change signed in Rio de Janeiro in May 1992, which it ratified in 1998, and in 2001 ratified the Vienna Convention. It accepted the Kyoto Protocol to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change on July 22, 2004, with it entering into force on February 16, 2005.

SEE ALSO: Deforestation; Forests; Species Extinction.

BIBLIOGRAPHY. Theo Schilderman, "Rwanda: Low-Cost Construction in Kigali," (Minar, v.38, 1991); Geordie Torr, "...To See the Gorillas?" (Geographical, v.78/11, 2006); World Resources Institute, "Rwanda—Climate and Atmosphere," (cited October 2007).

Robin S. Corfield Independent Scholar

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