Samoa, known until 1997 as Western Samoa, has a land area of 1,093 sq. mi. (2,831 sq. km.), with a population of 187,000 (2006 est.) and a population density of 169 people per sq. mi. (65 people per sq. km.). With the economy dominated by subsistence agriculture, 19 percent of the country is arable, and 47 percent is forested.
From 1990 until 2003, the per capita carbon dioxide emissions from the country have been fairly stable, at between 0.7 and 0.8 metric tons per person. These emissions come entirely from liquid fuels, which are
produced from transportation, electricity generation, and the running of small household and factory generators. Fossil fuels—petroleum—generate 59.2 percent of the electricity, with the remainder coming from hydropower.
Samoa is at risk of serious land loss because of global warming and climate change. Indeed, Upolu and Savai, the two major islands in the country, have both experienced the loss of about 1.5 ft. (0.46 m.) of shore each year for the last 90 years. The only two other inhabited islands in Samoa—Apolina and Manono—have also suffered land loss, and some of the uninhabited islands are expected to become completely submerged if the water levels continue to rise.
The Samoan government ratified the Vienna Convention in 1992 and took part in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, signed in Rio de Janeiro in May 1992, ratifying it in 1994. It signed the Kyoto Protocol to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change on March 16, 1998, which was ratified on November 27, 2000, and entered into force on February 16, 2005.
2007); Paul Smitz, Samoan Islands and Tonga (Lonely Planet, 2006).
Robin S. Corfield Independent Scholar
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