Slovenia

located in the Balkans, and formerly one of the constituent parts of Yugoslavia, Slovenia has a land area of 7,827 sq. mi. (20,251 sq. km.), with a population of 2,030,000 (2006 est.) and a population den sity of 251 people per sq. mi. (99 people per sq. km.). About 12 percent of the country is arable, with a further 24 percent covered in meadows and pasture and 54 percent in forests.

In spite of its large amount of forestry, because of its high standard of living, Slovenia ranks 50th in the world in terms of its per capita carbon monoxide emissions, with 6.3 metric tons per person in 1992, falling to 5.5 metric tons in 1994 and then rising dramatically to 7.1 metric tons in 1995 before reaching a peak of 8.1 metric tons in 1997, falling slightly to 7.8 metric tons in 2003. Heavily reliant on nuclear power from the nuclear power plant at Krsko in Dolenjska, which accounts for 35.4 percent of the country's electricity production, 34.9 percent of the electricity comes from fossil fuels and 29.4 percent from hydropower. There is heavy use of fossil fuels, especially by the thermal electric power stations using coal to provide electricity for Ljubljana, the capital, and also Sos-tanj and Trbovlje. This results in electricity and heat production accounting for 42 percent of the country's carbon dioxide emissions.

Apart from electricity generation, there is also heavy use of private automobiles, with 365 vehicles per 1,000 people, similar to the proportions in Germany and the United Kingdom. This leads to regular traffic congestion, especially on roads around Ljubljana and Celje, Koper, and Maribor. Combined with relatively cheap petroleum, compared with prices in Western Europe, this has resulted in transportation contributing 28 percent of all carbon dioxide emissions by sector and 48 percent of emissions by source. This is in spite of the country's small size and an excellent public transport network, with an electrified train network run by Slovenske Zeleznice; the five steam trains are maintained solely for occasional journeys for tourists. In addition, there is an extensive bus network.

The effects of global warming and climate change on the country have been seen first with higher temperatures resulting in the melting of the snow in the mountains, limiting the periods available for skiing and beginning to affect arable crop production. To combat this, the government has succeeded in reducing sulphur dioxide emissions by half between 1985 and 1995 and also in reducing nitrogen oxide emissions by 20 percent. The Slovenian government took part in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, signed in Rio de Janeiro in May

1992, ratifying the Vienna Convention in the same year. In 1999, the government drew up a National Environmental Protection Program, and although it signed the Kyoto Protocol to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change on October 21, 1998, it was not ratified until August 2, 2002, and entered into force on February 16, 2005.

SEE ALSO: Automobiles; Climate Change, Effects; Transportation.

BIBLIOGRAPHY. "Slovenia—Climate and Atmosphere," http://earthtrends.wri.org (cited October 2007); Neil Wilson and Steve Fallon, Slovenia (Lonely Planet, 2001).

Robin S. Corfield Independent Scholar

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