Country Background Information – Venezuela


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  • Canaima mountains

    Canaima National Park in the southeastern part of Venezuela is a 3 million ha UNESCO world heritage site. 65% of the park is covered by mountain formations bordering Brazil and Guyana. The park has an equatorial climate with as much as 4,000 mm of rainfall every year.

    Source: Photo by Paolo Costa Baldi / License: GFDL/CC-BY-SA 3.0

  • Medanos de Coro desert

    Sand dunes up to 40m high can be found in Medanos de Coro on the north coast of Venezuela.

    Source: Flickr / SarahTz

  • oil

    Venezuela has the largest proven oil reserve in the world. 95% of its export earnings are from oil, contributing largely to the national income. Changes in oil prices have a big impact on Venezuela’s economy.

    Source: Flickr / L.C. Nøttaasen

  • Caracas

    Caracas is the largest city and capital of Venezuela. 89% of Venezuela’s population live in urban areas. With the current economic and political situation, major cities like Caracas experience food shortages. This brings further challenges in terms of health and other social services.

    Source: Wikimedia Commons / Paulino Moran

  • petrol

    With US $12 billion fossil fuel subsidies per year, petrol in Venezuela is very cheap. Before the inflation in 2016, a litre of petrol costs about US$ 0.01 per litre – cheaper than bottled water.

  • coffee plant

    Coffee is one of the main crops grown in Venezuela and used to be a major export. Because of production challenges and lack of market incentives, coffee production continues to decline. Venezuela now imports 70% of its food and agricultural products – including coffee.

    Source: Wikimedia Commons / Juan Carlo Castillo Ortega

  • forests

    More than half of Venezuela is covered by forests. Since 1999, Venezuela has gone from a country where deforestation and land use change accounted for considerable greenhouse gas emissions, to one where the forests are absorbing greenhouse gases.

    Source: Flickr / Iñaki Lopez

  • guri dam

    Venezuela’s hydroelectric schemes currently meet 70% of its electricity needs. However, this is highly dependent on rainfall. During El Niño events, where there is far less rainfall, power cuts become frequent.

    Source: Wikimedia Commons / Fadi

  • los roques island

    Venezuela has a rich terrestrial and marine biodiversity and therefore has a wide variety of ecosystems vulnerable to climate change.

    Source: Wikimedia Commons / Berrucomons

  • basilica chinita

    The over 300-year old Basilica de la Chinita is one of the most popular churches in Maracaibo City. 96% of Venezuela’s population is Catholic.

    Source: Wikimedia Commons / Wilfredo Rodriguez

Further Materials (higher level learners) – Venezuela

  • Caribbean sardine collapse linked to climate change from the Guardian.
  • Venezuela, the climate paradox of the petro-state.
  • World Bank report
  • Grantham Institute report
  • General Information

  • Background Information from the UN
  • A good overview from the World Bank.
  • World Bank Africa Climate Business Plan
  • World Bank Climate Change Action Plan 2016-2020
  • CCAFS big facts
  • 2050 calculator tool for the UK
  • A history of climate change negotiations and another one.
  • A guide to COP21 in Paris from the Guardian.