located IN THE northeast of the South American mainland, Suriname, formerly a Dutch colony, has a land area of 63,251 sq. mi. (163,270 sq. km.), with a population of 458,000 (2006 est.) and a population density of 7 people per sq. mi. (2.7 people per sq. km.). With 97 percent of the land covered in forests, and a relatively small timber industry, there is little arable land available.
For electricity production, in 2001, 64.2 percent of the country's electricity came from hydropower, with the remaining 35.8 percent coming from fossil fuels. Much of the hydropower comes from a number of hydroelectric plants in the country. Although most provide electricity for the government, some were constructed to provide electricity for specific businesses, such as the Brokopondo Reservoir for the nearby Alcoa aluminum plant. Most of the fossil fuels used in Suriname come from petroleum, with liquid fuels being responsible for 95 percent of the carbon dioxide emissions from the entire country. On account of this reliance on liquid fuels, in spite of being largely undeveloped, Suriname had a per capita rate of carbon dioxide emissions of 4.5 metric tons per person in 1990, rising steadily to 5.1 metric tons in 2003.
The effects of global warming on Suriname include a greater possibility of flooding, with the increased risk of insect-borne diseases such as malaria and dengue fever. There is also the risk of alienating some of the arable land in the country, possibly making it dependent on imported food. Furthermore, the rising water temperature is already having an effect on the leatherback turtles at the Galibi Nature Reserve. The Suriname government took part in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, signed in Rio de Janeiro in May 1992, ratifying it four years later, with the government ratifying the Vienna Convention in 1997. On September 25, 2006, Suriname became the 163rd country to ratify the Kyoto Protocol to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
SEE ALSo: Climate Change, Effects; Floods.
BIBLioGRAPHY. Baijah Hunderson and Philip Mhango, Revenue-Income Elasticity of Resource-Rich Developing Countries: The Case of Suriname (Institute of Economic and Social Research, University of Suriname, 1982); John McCarry, "Suriname" National Geographic (v.197/6, June 2000); Switi Sranan, Surinam (K.I.T., 2003); World Resources Institute, "Suriname—Climate and Atmosphere," http://earthtrends.wri.org (cited October 2007).
Robin S. Corfield Independent Scholar
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