located in the Pacific, east of Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands have a land area of 11,157 sq. mi. (28,896 sq. km.), covering 249,000 sq. nautical mi., with a population of 496,000 (2006 est.) and a population density of 43 people per sq. mi. (17 people per sq. km.). Only 1 percent of the land is arable, with a further 1 percent being used for meadows and pasture and 91 percent of the country forested, although a massive timber industry is resulting in heavy deforestation.
The entire electricity production in the country is from fossil fuels, with liquid fuels making up the entire carbon dioxide emissions from the country. Because the country is largely undeveloped, the per capita carbon dioxide emissions rate is low, being 0.5
metric tons per person in 1990 and falling to 0.39 metric tons in 2003. The increasing deforestation of the islands, however, will start to lead to a heavy increase in the country's carbon dioxide emissions in subsequent years.
The possible effects of global warming and climate change on the Solomon Islands are significant. There is the strong probability of increased flooding, which in turn could lead to a rise in the prevalence of insect-borne diseases such as malaria and dengue fever. The flooding might also result in the inundation of some of the several hundred islands that make up the country.
The Solomon Islands 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 the following year. The government signed the Kyoto Protocol to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change on September 29, 1998, and ratified it on March 13, 2003, with it entering into force on February 16, 2005.
SEE ALSo: Climate Change, Effects; Deforestation; Floods.
BIBLioGRAPHY. Ross McDonald, Money Makes You Crazy: Custom and Change in the Solomon Islands (University of Otago Press, 2003); "Solomon Islands—Climate and Atmosphere," http://earthtrends.wri.org (cited October 2007); Solomon Islands: Rebuilding an Island Economy (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australia, 2004).
Robin S. Corfield Independent Scholar
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