THE CENTRAL AFRICAN country of Sâo Tomé and Principe, formerly a Portuguese colony, is located on two islands, Sâo Tome and Principe, in the Atlantic Ocean. Together they have a land area of 372 sq. mi. (964 sq. km.), with a population of 158,000 (2006 est.), and a population density of 454 people per sq. mi. (171 people per sq. km.). About 42 percent of the population live in urban areas. Only 2 percent of the land is arable, with a further 1 percent used for meadows and pasture, with 75 percent of the country being forested.
Until the recent discovery of oil, the country has been poor, with the carbon dioxide emissions in the country being 0.6 metric tons per capita from 1990 until 2003 when the emission level was recorded as 0.62 metric tons per person. For the electricity production in the country, 58.8 percent comes from hydropower, with 41.2 percent from fossil fuels. The entire carbon dioxide emission comes from liquid fuels, being from car emissions, and also from small gas-driven generators. Gasoline prices in the country have been relatively low, but there is a very poor public transport system.
Both the islands of Sâo Tomé and Principe might suffer flooding if global warming and climate change continue to raise the level of the Atlantic Ocean. The rising temperature of the water might also affect the country's fishing industry, which centers on catching shrimp and tuna. The Sâo Tomé government took part in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change signed in Rio de Janeiro in May 1992, and ratified the Vienna Convention in 2001. The government has so far expressed no opinion on the Kyoto Protocol to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
SEE ALSO: Carbon Dioxide; Climate Change, Effects; Floods; Kyoto Protocol.
BIBLIOGRAPHY. P.J. Jones, J.P. Burlison, and A. Tye, Con-servacao dos Ecossistemas Florestais na Republica Democratica de Sao Tomé e Príncipe (Uniao Internacional para a Conservacao da Natureza e dos Recursos Naturais, 1991); World Resources Institute, "Sao Tome & Principe—Climate and Atmosphere," http://earthtrends.wri.org (cited October 2007).
Robin S. Corfield Independent Scholar
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