Saint Kitts and Nevis located IN THE West Indies, Saint Kitts and Nevis are two islands in the Leeward Islands chain. They have a land area of 68 sq. mi. (168.4 sq. km.) for Saint Kitts and 35.9 sq. mi. (93.2 sq. km.) for Nevis. They have an overall population of 50,000 (2006 est.) and a population density of 426 people per sq. mi. (164 people per sq. km.). Some 75 percent of the population lives on the island of Saint Kitts, with 49 percent of the overall population living in urban areas, even though the capital—Basseterre—has a population of only 14,000. Some 22 percent of the land is arable, with another 3 percent used for meadow and pasture.

Traditionally, the economy of Saint Kitts, and especially Nevis, was centered on the sugar industry, with sugar cane growing well on the volcanic slopes of both islands. Although demand for sugar for food has declined, its use in ethanol, in an effort made to reduce the world's dependence on gasoline, has become more important starting in the 1990s. Although Saint Kitts and Nevis do face trouble from Caribbean hurricanes, they face less of a problem than many other islands in the West Indies with regard to rising water levels. However, rising water temperatures are expected to have a major effect on the population of sea turtles and also on many other types of marine life that live around the black coral off the shores of Saint Kitts. This is expected to have an effect on the growing tourism industry, which now makes up some 12 percent of the country's economy. The effect of increased development on both Saint Kitts and Nevis has resulted in an increase in per capita carbon dioxide emissions, up from 1.6 metric tons per person in 1990 to 3 metric tons per person in 2003.

The government of Kennedy A. Simmonds took part in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, signed in Rio de Janeiro in May 1992, but the government of Denzil Douglas, which came to power in 1995, has so far not expressed any position on the Kyoto Protocol to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

SEE ALSo: Greenhouse Gases; Kyoto Protocol.

BIBLioGRAPHY. Sonita Barrett, Sugar Industry of St. Kitts and Nevis—The Post War Experience (University of the West Indies, 1985); Ariel Lugo, "Development, Forestry and Environmental Quality in the Eastern Caribbean," Sustainable Development and Environmental Management of Small Islands (UNESCO, 1990); USA International Business Publications, Saint Kitts And Nevis Ecology & Nature

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