SAINT Vincent AND the Grenadines are part of the Windward Islands chain, surrounded by the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, and have a land area of 150 sq. mi. (388 sq. km.), of which the island of Saint Vincent itself accounts for 107 sq. mi. (240 sq. km.). The country has a population of 120,000 (2006 est.) and a population density of 798 people per sq. mi. (307 people per sq. km.), with Kingstown, the nation's capital, having a population of about 16,000.
Some 10 percent of the land is arable, much of which is used for the growing of coconuts and bananas, and a further 5 percent is used for meadows and pasture. Traditionally, few tourists visit Saint Vincent.
Some of the islands of the Grenadines are low lying, and the country faces major problems with the rising water level; its coral reefs are also threatened by the rising temperature of the water. The flooding feared in some parts of the islands threatens to increase the prevalence of insect-borne diseases such as malaria and dengue fever and also threatens low-lying parts of the country. Global warming has also been blamed for the deaths of many fish in 1999 off the coast of Saint Vincent and other nearby islands. The carbon dioxide emissions per capita in Saint Vincent remain very low, being 0.7 metric tons per person in 1990, although this number has risen significantly since then, reaching 1.6 metric tons in 2003. The carbon dioxide emissions come entirely from liquid fuels, with fossil fuels making up 73.2 percent of the electricity production in the country and the remainder—26.8 percent—coming from hydropower.
The government of James Fitz-Allen Mitchell took part in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, signed in Rio de Janeiro in May 1992, and two years later, Saint Vincent was represented at the Global Conference on the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States held in Barbados. In 1996, the government ratified the Vienna Convention, and on March 16, 1998, the Saint Vincent government signed the Kyoto Protocol to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, with the country ratifying it on August 20, 2003, and it entering into force on February 16, 2005.
SEE ALSo: Climate Change, Effects; Floods; Kyoto Protocol.
BIBLioGRAPHY. Environment News Service, "Vulnerable Caribbean Nations Prepare for Global Warming," http:// ens-newswire.com/ens/jun2001/2001-06-04-02.asp (cited September 2007); World Resources Institute, "St. Vincent and the Grenadines—Climate and Atmosphere," http:// earthtrends.wri.org (cited October 2007).
Robin S. Corfield Independent Scholar
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