Coverage

Albania

Albania is located in Southeastern Europe, bordering the Adriatic Sea and Ionian Sea, between Greece in the south and Montenegro and Kosovo in the north. This nation’s terrain is comprised of mostly mountains and hills with small plains along the coast. The natural hazards in this region are destructive earthquakes, tsunamis along the southwestern coast, floods, and droughts. The climate is mild temperate with cool, cloudy, wet winters and hot, clear, dry summers. The interior is cooler and wetter. The environmental issues in Albania are deforestation, soil erosions, and water pollution from industrial and domestic effluents.

Albania registers relatively low levels of carbon emissions due to low ownership of private cars, massive use of public transport and, most of all, a reliance on hydroelectric power. Merely 3% of the energy generation in the country comes from fossil fuels. Moreover, Andorra exports hydro generated power to Greece, thus helping its South-Eastern neighbor reduce carbon emissions. Albania ratified the Kyoto Protocol on April 1, 2005.

Austria

Austria is located in Central Europe, north of Italy and Slovenia. This nation’s terrain is comprised of mostly mountains in the west and south. The natural hazards in this region are landslides, avalanches, and earthquakes. The climate is temperate; continental, cloudy; cold winters with frequent rain and some snow in the lowlands and snow in the mountains with moderate summers and occasional showers. The environmental issues in Austria are forest degradation, air pollution, and soil pollution.

Austrian government encouraged wind energy and solar power with tax concessions offered to people that install solar panels. Austria signed the Kyoto Protocol in April 1998, but it entered into force only as of May 31, 2002. Until the climate change talks held in Vienna back in August 2007, the country observed a a reduction in air and soil pollution from industrial chemicals, banning of leaded gasoline included.

Belarus

Belarus is located in Eastern Europe, east of Poland. This nation’s terrain is generally flat and contains a lot of marshland. There are no natural hazards in this region. The climate in the winter is cold and cool and moist during the summers. The environmental issues in Belarus are soil pollution from pesticide use and the southern part of the country is contaminated with fallout from 1986 nuclear reactor accident at Chernobyl’ in the northern Ukraine.

To reduce its effect on climate change, Belarus has embarked on an ambitious project of electrifying its train network, and investing more in public transport. However, it relies heavily on fossil fuels for the generation of electricity, which provides 99.5 percent of the power for the country, while only 0.08 percent comes from hydropower. With about a third of the country forested, Belarus lessens its effect on global warming, although there is the threat of deforestation with many cities becoming larger, and increasing demand for timber. The Belarus government took part in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change signed in Rio de Janeiro in May 1992, and accepted the Kyoto Protocol to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change on May 26, 2005. It took effect on November 24, 2005.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Bosnia and Herzegovina are located in Southeastern Europe, bordering the Adriatic Sea and Croatia. This nation’s terrain contains mountains and valleys. The only natural hazard in this region is destructive earthquakes. The climate is composed of hot summers and cold winters. Areas of high elevation have short, cool summers and long, severe winters. The coast tends to have mild, rainy winters. Some of the environmental issues in this country are air pollution from metallurgical plants, sites for disposing of urban waste are limited, and water shortages.

One of the least developed countries in Europe, Bosnia-Herzegovina has one of the lowest rates of carbon dioxide emissions: only 1.2 metric tons per capita in 1992. However, in 1997 the per capita rate rose dramatically to 3.6 metric tons, and then 4.6 metric tons by 1998. Most of these emissions come from electricity production (63 percent), as 37.6 percent of the country’s electricity production is generated from fossil fuels. The remainder comes from hydropower. Transportation accounts for 33 percent of carbon dioxide emissions. Despite the Bosnian War, the government was eager to join international forums, and 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 same year. On April 16, 2007, the Bosnian government accepted the Kyoto Protocol to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Bulgaria

Bulgaria is located in Southeastern Europe, bordering the Black Sea, between Romania and Turkey. This nation’s terrain is comprised mostly of mountains with lowlands in the north and southeast. The natural hazards in this region are earthquakes and landslides. The climate is temperate with cold, damp winters and hot, dry summers. Some of the environmental issues in Bulgaria are air pollution from industrial emissions, deforestation, and soil contamination.

A recession after 1989 led to a reduction of carbon dioxide emitted by energy and industry, the latter now surpassed by transportation, with a growing number of old and inefficient vehicles. Another nuclear power plant and a gas network for heating are in the works. Energy efficiency is improving by changing windows and adding insulation, although growing affluence results in larger homes and air conditioner usage. Agriculture and tourism have come to the forefront of the economy, and increase the country’s vulnerability to climate change. Agriculture was marked by intensive irrigation until 1989 (10 percent of nation’s area was irrigated), but recurring droughts, such as in 2007, threaten harvests. Starting 2008, Bulgaria has initiated  programs of heavy investment in alternative energy, mostly wind based.

Croatia

Croatia is located in Southeastern Europe, bordering the Adriatic Sea, between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Slovenia. This nation’s terrain is geographically diverse with flat plains along the Hungarian border and low mountains and highlands near the Adriatic coastline and islands. The only natural hazards in this region are destructive earthquakes. The climate is Mediterranean and continental with the continental climate predominating with hot summers and cold winter. The winters are mild and the summers dry along the coast. Some of the environmental issues in Croatia are air pollution from metallurgical plants, acid rains, and coastal pollution from industrial and domestic waste.

For electricity generation, 45 percent of Croatian power comes from fossil fuels, with 55 percent from hydropower. This is generated from four hydroelectric power plants, one near the Slovenian-Hungarian border at Varazdin, and the other three are at Senj, Obrova and Zakucac, along the Adriatic Coastline. As a result of this heavy use of hydropower, Croatia has a relatively low rate of greenhouse gas emissions, given the prosperity of the country and the high automobiles ownership. Croatia became independent in 1991, and soon afterward it ratified the Vienna Convention. In May of the following year, it took part in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change signed in Rio de Janeiro in May 1992, and signed the Kyoto Protocol to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change on March 11, 1999.

Czech Republic

The Czech Republic is located in Central Europe, between Germany, Poland, Slovakia, and Austria. This nation’s terrain is comprised of rolling plains, hills, and plateaus surround by low mountains in Bohemia in the west and Moravia in the east consists of very hilly country. The only natural hazard in this region is flooding. The climate is temperate with cool summer and cold, cloudy, humid winters. The environmental issues in the Czech Republic are air and water pollution in areas of northwest Bohemia and in northern Moravia around Ostrava and acid rain damaging forest.

About 77.8 percent of the electricity comes from the burning of fossil fuels, with 18.5 percent from nuclear power, and only 2.5 percent from hydropower. Most of that hydroelectricity comes from the Dalescie Dam, located on the Jihlava River, which was built 1970–78. Liquid fuels account for 16 percent of the country’s carbon dioxide emissions, with 15 percent from gaseous fuels. By sector, electricity production accounts for 54 percent of carbon dioxide emissions, with manufacturing and construction industries causing 23 percent, and transportation, 10 percent, despite a good public transport system, the use of electric trams, and also the heavy promotion of carpooling, cycling, and car-free parts of some towns and cities.

Estonia

Estonia is located in Eastern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Finland, between Latvia and Russia. This nation’s terrain is marshy and consists of lowlands, which are flat in the north and hilly in the south. The only natural hazard is flooding, which occurs in the spring. The climate is maritime, wet, with moderate winters and cool summers. Some of the environmental issues in Estonia is air pollution and pollution of coastal sea-waters.

Of the country’s carbon dioxide emissions, 75 percent come from solid fuels, mainly coal, and also wood; 17 percent from liquid fuels, and 7 percent from gaseous fuels, with 1 percent from cement manufacturing. Because of the cold climate in the winter, 75 percent of carbon dioxide emissions come from public electricity and heat production, with 9 percent from transportation, and 7 percent from manufacturing and construction. Global warming and climate change are causing higher average temperatures in Estonia. In addition, some of the snow has melted, creating more land for farming. However, this has led to a change in the crops that can be grown, and the warmer temperatures in the seas around Estonia have affected the local fishery industry.

Germany

Germany is located in Central Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea and the North Sea, between the Netherlands and Poland, south of Denmark. This nation’s terrain comprised of lowlands in the north, upland in the center, and the Bavarian Alps in the south. The only natural hazard in this region is flooding. The climate is temperate and marine with cool, cloud, wet winters and summers with occasional warm mountain (foehn) wind. Some of the environmental issues Germany faces include acid rain, air pollution, and hazardous waste disposal.

Germany is a leader in the fight to combat global warming. A modern nation of 82.4 million people, with a stable and diversified economy, Germany has a highly developed industrial, commercial, and agricultural infrastructure, all of which will face challenges as the climate begins to change. Like the rest of Europe, Germany expects to see more extremes in its weather patterns, with milder, wetter winters and hotter, drier summers. The nation’s water supply is not believed to be at risk, and there is little fear of new diseases moving into the region; in this respect, Germany will fare better than many other parts of the planet. Germany has taken a number of affirmative steps, translated in big investments in alternative energy, to mitigate carbon emissions and develop sustainable and renewable resources.

Hungary

Hungary is located in Central Europe, northwest of Romania. This nation’s terrain is mostly flat to rolling plains and hills and low mountains on the Slovakian border. The climate is temperate with cold, cloudy, humid winters and warm summers. The environmental issues in Hungry are the upgrading of Hungary’s standards in waste management energy efficiency, and air, soil, and water pollution to meet EU requirements, which will require large investments.

A 2006 Yale University study ranked Hungary in the second quintile according to its overall environmental health, but dependence on fossil fuels, high transport emissions, and a poor development of renewable energy sources were weak areas. The third item became especially significant when the European Union announced in 2007 that its member nations by 2020 should obtain 20 percent of their total energy from renewable energy sources, with 10 percent coming from biofuels. Hungary’s Ministry of Economics and Transportation and the Ministry of Environmental Protection announced a 10-point action plan to slow global warming. The plan calls for the establishment of a National Energy Council, environmentally friendly tax changes, and a commitment to renewable energy and meeting the EU standard.

Kosovo

Kosovo is located in Southeast Europe, between Serbia and Macedonia. This nation’s terrain is comprised of a flat fluvial basin with an elevation of 400-700 meters above sea level surround by several high mountain ranges with elevations of 2,000 to 2,500 meters. The climate is influenced by continental air masses resulting in relatively cold winters with heavy snowfall and hot, dry summers and autumns. The Mediterranean and alpine influences create regional variation and maximum rainfall between October and December.

Latvia

Latvia is located in Eastern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea, between Estonia and Lithuania. This nations terrain is comprised of low plains. There are no natural hazards in this region. The climate is maritime, wet, and moderate during the winters. The main environmental priorities in Latvia are improvement of drinking water quality and sewage system, household, and hazardous waste management, as well as reduction of air pollution.

Over 62 percent comes from liquid fuels, reflecting the heavy use of privately-owned cars in the country, and 30 percent from gaseous fuels, with the remainder from the use of solid fuels and cement manufacturing. In recent years, the Latvian government has encouraged bicycling in the country to try to reduce dependence on cars for short journeys. The main effects of global warming and climate change on Latvia have been a rise in the average temperatures in the country, which has allowed more land to be used for arable purposes. However, it has also led to degradation of some coastal lands, and the possibility of flooding in parts of the country. The Latvian government took part in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change signed in Rio de Janeiro in May 1992, and three years later ratified the Vienna Convention. Latvia signed the Kyoto Protocol to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change on December 14, 1998, and ratified it on July 5, 2002. It took effect on February 16, 2005. The Latvian government has undertaken to reduce CO2 emissions by 8 percent by 2012.

Lithuania

Lithuania is located in Eastern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea, between Latvia and Russia. This nations terrain is comprised of many scattered small lakes, fertile soil, and lowlands. The climate is transitional, between maritime and continental with wet, moderate winters and summers. There are no natural hazards in this region. The environmental issues in Lithuania are contamination of soil and groundwater with petroleum products and chemicals at military bases.

The effects of global warming and climate change on Lithuania are potentially quite serious, especially around Klaipeda (formerly Memel) and the Courland Spit, which is at risk from flooding. There is also risk from flooding in other parts of the country, such as in the Aukstaitija National Park. To try to combat the effects of global warming, Lithuania has continued to invest heavily in its public transport system, and parts of many cities such as Klaipeda are pedestrian precincts that discourage the use of cars, with heavy encouragement of bicycling.

The Lithuanian 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 1995. They also signed the Kyoto Protocol to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change on September 21, 1998, and ratified it on January 3, 2003.

Macedonia

Macedonia is located in Southeastern Europe, north of Greece. This nation’s terrain is mountainous territory covered with deep basins and valley; three large lakes, each divided by a frontier line; and the country is bisected by the Vardar River. The only natural hazard in this region is high seismic risks. The climate is warm, dry summers and autumns and relatively cold winters with heavy snowfall.

By sector, electricity generation and heat production account for 71 percent of all carbon dioxide emissions, with 11 percent from transportation. The country has a relatively poor system of public transport, with a small railway network, only a third of which is electrified. Climate change and global warming are likely to have a severe effects on Lake Doiran, where fishermen from Macedonia source much of their fish stock. The Macedonian government took part in the United

Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in May 1992, which they ratified in 1998. Macedonia also ratified in the Vienna Convention in 1994.

Moldova

Moldova is located in Eastern Europe, northeast of Romania. This nation’s terrain consists of a rolling steppe and gradual slope south to the Black Sea. The only natural hazards in this region are landslides. The climate is moderate in the winters and warm in the summers. The environmental issues in Moldova are heavy use of agricultural chemicals, which has contaminated soil and ground water and extensive soil erosion from poor farming methods.

In 1990, Moldova had a per capita carbon dioxide rate of emission of 4.8 metric tons, which fell steadily to 1.7 metric tons in 2003. Because of the cold winter climate in Moldova and its heavy industry, electricity and heat production accounts for 44 percent of carbon dioxide emissions, other energy industries account for 12 percent, another 12 percent is from manufacturing, and 8 percent from transportation. In terms of the source of emissions, 68 percent come from gaseous fuels, 10 percent from solid fuels, and 22 percent from liquid fuels—the latter from heavy use of automobiles. Moldova has seen a rise in temperatures that has resulted in some water shortages, and heat waves such as those in the summers of 2006 and 2007 that badly affected Moldova and its southern neighbor Romania. This has added to the demand on water supplies, and a gradual reduction of available, arable land. Further complications are caused by the formation of Transdniestra, a breakaway part of Moldova, where there are even more problems enforcing environmental controls.

Montenegro

Montenegro is located in Southeastern Europe, between the Adriatic Sea and Serbia. This nation’s terrain comprised of highly indented coastline with narrow coastal plain backed by rugged high limestone mountains and plateaus. The only natural hazard in this region is destructive earthquakes. The climate is Mediterranean with hot dry summers and autumns and relatively cold winters with heavy snowfalls inland. The environmental issue in Montenegro is pollution of coastal waters from sewage outlets, especially in tourist-related areas such as Kotor.

Poland

Poland is located in Central Europe, east of Germany. This nation’s terrain comprised mostly of flat plains and mountains along the southern border. The only natural hazards this region faces is flooding. The climate is temperate with cold, cloudy, moderately severe winters with frequent precipitation and mild summers with frequent showers and thundershowers. The environmental issues in Poland include air pollution, water pollution, and the disposal of hazardous wastes.

The country’s reliance on coal has meant that 76 percent of Poland’s carbon dioxide emissions have been from solid fuels, with 15 percent from liquid fuels, and 7 percent from gaseous fuels. The rising average temperatures in Poland as a result of global warming and climate change have caused hot summers in Lesser Poland, a region in the south of the country. Poland has been actively involved in various schemes to introduce carbon trading, and has even managed to reduce its own emissions rate, although it is hoping to cut back further. As a result, Poland has tried to follow a project that was developed by the Global Environment Facility, by which Mexico and Norway managed to reduce their power use through widespread introduction of compact fluorescent lamps in two major cities. In the case of Poland, this would also involve the conversion of coal-fired boilers to use gas. The main problem with this has been the political power of the coal-mining areas, which has hindered many attempts to reduce the dependence on coal.

Romania

Romania is located in Southeastern Europe, bordering the Black Sea, between Bulgaria and Ukraine. This nation’s terrain is complex. The central Transylvanian Basin is separated from the Moldavian Plateau on the east by the Eastern Carpathian Mountains and separated from the Walachian Plain on the south by the Transylvanian Alps. The natural hazards in this region are earthquakes and landslides. The climate is temperate with cold, cloudy winters with frequent snow and fog and sunny summers with frequent showers and thunderstorms. The environmental issues in Romania are soil erosion and degradation, water pollution, air pollution, and contamination of Danube delta wetlands.

For the generation of electricity in the country, 53 percent comes from fossil fuels, with 37 percent from hydropower, and 10 percent from nuclear power, with a small amount of electricity exported, and an even smaller part imported.

The heavy use of hydropower has resulted in Romania having one of the lowest per capita rates of carbon dioxide emissions: 6.7 metric tons per person in 1990, falling to 3.8 metric tons per person in 1999, and rising slowly to 4.16 metric tons in 2004. The generation of electricity contributed to 49 percent of the country’s carbon dioxide emissions, with 24 percent from manufacturing and construction, 11 percent from transportation, 8 percent from residential uses, and the remaining 8 percent from nonelectricity energy industries. The source of the emissions comes from gaseous fuels (33 percent), liquid fuels (32 percent), and solid fuels (31 percent), with 4 percent from cement manufacturing. The government committing itself to a reduction of emissions by 1.2 percent as a stage toward ratification, and by another 8 percent by 2012. The Romanian government has long signaled its interest in emissions trading.

Serbia

Serbia is located in Southeastern Europe, between Macedonia and Hungary. This nation’s terrain is extremely varied. To the north there are rich fertile plains; to the east, limestone ranges and basins; and to the southeast, ancient mountains and hills. The only natural hazard in this region is destructive earthquakes. The climate in the north is continental and in other parts it is continental and Mediterranean. The environmental issues in Serbia are air pollution from industrial cities and water pollution from industrial wasted dumped into the Sava, which flows into the Danube.

Slovakia

Slovakia is located in Central Europe, south of Poland. This nation’s terrain is comprised of rugged mountains in the central and northern part and lowlands in the south. There are no natural hazards in this region. The climate is humid. The environment issues in Slovakia are air pollution from metallurgical plants and acid rain, which damages forests.

Slovakia sources 35.3 percent of its electricity production from fossil fuels, with 47.6 percent nuclear power and 17.1 percent from hydro power. Because of the heavy use of coal, solid fuels account for 45 percent of the carbon dioxide emissions in the country, with 34 percent from gaseous fuels, 17 percent from liquid fuels (reflecting the fact that transportation accounts for 12 percent of emissions), and the remaining 4 percent from cement manufacturing. The high amount of fossil fuels used in electricity also shows itself in the emissions by sector, with 32 percent of emissions from electricity and heat production and 43 percent from manufacturing and construction. The fossil fuels also account for the nation’s relatively high sulfur dioxide and carbon monoxide emissions. The Slovakian 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 1993. The government signed the Kyoto Protocol to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change on February 26, 1999.

Slovenia

Slovenia is located in Central Europe, eastern Alps bordering the Adriatic Sea, between Austria and Croatia. This nation’s terrain is comprised of a short coastal strip on the Adriatic, an alpine mountain region adjacent to Italy and Austria, mixed with mountains and valleys with numerous rivers to the east. The natural hazards in this region are flooding and earthquakes. The climate is Mediterranean on the coast, continental with mild to hot summers and cold winter in the plateaus and valleys to the east. The environmental issues in Slovenia are that the Sava River is polluted with domestic and industrial waste, pollution of coastal waters, and acid rain.

Almost 35 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 Sostanj 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.

Ukraine

The Ukraine is located in Eastern Europe, bordering the Black Sea, between Poland, Romania, and Moldova in the west and Russia in the east. This nation’s terrain is comprised mainly of fertile plains (steppes) and plateaus with mountains being found only in the west (the Carpathians), and in the Crimean Peninsula in the extreme south. There are no natural hazards in this region. The climate is temperate continental; Mediterranean only on the southern Crimean coast; precipitation disproportionately distributed, highest in west and north, lesser in the east and southeast; winters vary from cool along the Black Sea to cold farther inland; summers are warm across the greater part of the country, hot in the south. Some of the environmental issues in the Ukraine are inadequate supplies of potable water, deforestation, and radiation contamination.

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