Swaziland

THE kingdom of Swaziland is landlocked, with its neighbors being South Africa and Mozambique. It has a land area of 6,704 sq. mi. (17,363 sq. km.), with a population of 1,141,000 (2006 est.) and a population density of 153 people per sq. mi. (59 people per sq. km.). Some 11 percent of the land is arable, with much of it used for subsistence farming, and also for growing maize, cotton, rice, sugar cane, and citrus fruits. In addition, 62 percent of the country is used as meadows or pasture for low-intensity grazing of cattle, sheep, and goats. About 6 percent of the country is forested, with a significant logging industry.

Because the country is largely undeveloped, there is a relatively low use of electricity, with a significant component being used for heating in winter. Electricity production in Swaziland comes from fossil fuels (55.8 percent) and hydropower (44.2 percent), with most of it imported from South Africa. In terms of its carbon dioxide emissions, Swaziland ranks 144th in the world, with emissions of 0.5 metric tons per person in 1990, falling to 0.1 metric tons per person in 1993 but rising steadily to 0.92 metric tons per person by 2003. All the carbon dioxide emissions in Swaziland are attributed to the use of solid fuels, with most of the electricity generated and also the residential and business heating done by coal or wood. This has resulted in a significant per capita emission of carbon monoxide.

As a result of global warming and climate change, Swaziland has seen the effects of water shortages for some of its crops, such as rice, and desertification of some areas previously used for farming. The Swaziland government took part in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, signed in Rio de Janeiro in May 1992, signing the Vienna Convention in the same year. On January 13, 2006, the country accepted the Kyoto Protocol to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, being the 155th country in the world to do so, with it coming into force on April 13, 2006.

SEE ALSo: Climate Change, Effects; Drought

BIBLIoGRAPHY. Michael E. Meadows and Timm M. Hoffman, "Land Degradation and Climate Change in South Africa," The Geographical Journal (v.169/2, 2003); Percy Selwyn, Industrial Development in Peripheral Countries (Institute for Development Studies, Sussex University, 1973); "World Resources Institute, Swaziland—Climate and Atmosphere," http://earthtrends.wri.org (cited October 2007).

Robin S. Corfield Independent Scholar

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