The Mexicans In The Living Room: Why Won`t Greenies Admit Immigration`s Global Warming Impact?

Of the
millions of Greenies who claim to be deadly serious about
Saving the World from global warming by limiting carbon
emissions, how many are really sincere?

There`s one surefire test of sincerity:
Do they demand
reductions in immigration to the U.S.?

Answer:
almost none of them do.


A Google search for
carbon
emissions

brings up 3,680,000 web pages. (August 8, 2010). Add
immigration
reduction

to the search, however, and the hit count falls to 114.

The causes of global warning are disputed,
but let`s assume for the sake of analysis that human output
of “greenhouse gases” does indeed cause global warming. It ought to be
close to self-evident that immigration to America increases
this country`s—and the world`s—output of those gases.

The
logic is very simple: If immigrants from poor countries
successfully assimilate to American norms of earning and
consuming, they, and their descendents, will emit vastly
more carbon than if they stayed home.


According to the UN`s



International Energy Agency
,
residents of America in 2007 put out an average of 19.1 tons
of carbon dioxide, the chief greenhouse gas, by fossil fuel
combustion—e.g., by driving around, by being


warm in
winter

and

cool in summer,

and by


watching
TV.

In
contrast, the residents of Mexico each emit 4.1 tons per
year. In other words, the typical inhabitant of America
churns out 4.6 times as much carbon dioxide as the typical
inhabitant of Mexico.

So, if
an average Mexican immigrates to the U.S. and fully
assimilates to average American patterns of earning and
spending, he will emit 4.6 times as much carbon dioxide as
if he stayed home in his own country. (Even more important
are the impact of his descendents, which we`ll get to
below).

This
table gives a sampling of the carbon emissions per capita of
immigrant importing and exporting countries.

For
example,



Australians
,
in the grand tradition of


Mad Max
,
pump out an American-like 18.7 tons of carbon dioxide per
year. Therefore, if an average Australian moves to the U.S.
and adopts the average American`s way of life, the net
effect on global carbon emissions would be negligible: i.e.,
the “Immigration
Multiplier”
is barely above 1.0.

The
right hand column in the table lists the number of adults
who want to immigrate to each country according to a vast
Gallup poll of


259,542

people in 135 countries. Around the world, no less than 700
million adults—one out of six of the total—want to emigrate.
America is the first choice of 165,000,000. Plus 60,000,000
others prefer to move to



Australia

or


Canada
,
which are both


America
Jr.

from the perspective of per capita carbon emissions.

In
contrast to the Immigration Destination Countries, which
typically emit much carbon per person, the Immigration
Source Countries don`t. Thus the Immigration Multiplier for
Mexico is 4.6 because residents of Mexico pump out only 22
percent as much carbon per person as residents of America.
The -15,000,000 in Mexico`s right hand column means that in
the Gallup survey,


20
percent

of the adults still left in Mexico said they would like to
leave. That equates to 15,000,000 adults (n.b. this is not
counting children and future offspring).

Of
course, it`s also important to remember that not all
immigrants come from Mexico. Many Americans don`t realize
it, but by Third World standards, Mexicans on average aren`t
particularly poor. According to the



CIA
World Factbook
,
there are no less that 5,366,204,659 people living in
countries with lower average per capita incomes than Mexico.

To put
it another way, 79% of world lives in countries poorer than
Mexico.

(Of
course, the Mexican average is a little


skewed

by the


World
Richest Man
,
Carlos Slim,



major creditor of the
New York Times
,

and his


fellow
oligarchs.)

It`s
commonly implied in the MSM that Mexicans immigrate to the
U.S. to avoid seeing their children die of starvation. Yet,
life expectancy in Mexico (
76.3
years) is now essentially as high (97.5 percent) in the U.S.

No, Mexicans don`t immigrate to America to
live longer—they immigrate to live
larger: to have a
large vehicle, a large house, a large TV, and a large
family. All of which equate to large carbon emissions.

American
white liberals tend to imagine that Mexico has a



donkey-based

economy, and thus that Mexicans must be blank slates who
would naturally follow white liberals` advice.


Bunk.  Stemming
from the discovery of oil in Mexico (by the great


American

geologist


Everette
Le DeGolyer

in 1910), Mexico has long been, by Third World norms,



car-crazy

and



energy-profligate.

The government of Mexico has subsidized


gasoline

purchases for decades.

When my
Southern California family drove to Mexico in the 1960s,
we`d debate whether to fill up in San Diego or wait until
Tijuana for the cheap (but


noxious
)


Pemex

gas.

To
return to my theme: In most other immigrant-exporting
countries, the carbon emission immigration multiplier is


substantially higher

than that of Mexico. For instance, if a normal Dominican
immigrates to America and successfully assimilates his
carbon emissions would increase 9.7 times. For most Central
Americans, the Immigration Multiplier is around 20X. For


Haitians
,
it`s 79.3X.

But
because Mexicans comprise the single largest group of
immigrants, and because their carbon Immigration Multiplier
appears to be fairly typical, I`ll use Mexicans to
illustrate the effects of immigration.

When
I`ve brought these inconvenient truths up in discussions, on
the rare occasions when Save the Worlders respond logically,
they sometimes dredge up the response that Mexico will,
surely Real Soon Now, emit as much carbon per capita as the
U.S.

I don`t
see much evidence for that in the


UN
figures
.
Mexico`s per capita carbon emissions were estimated to be 18
percent as high as America`s in 1982, and 22 percent as high
a quarter of a century later in 2007. At that rate, it would
take many generations to close the gap.


Global warming activists haven`t found many other objections
to sputter. Their thought processes tend to be restricted to
Immigration Good!
Carbon Bad! Does not compute… These are


HateStats
!

This is
representative of the kind of childishness that passes for
political discourse in America today. The feuds of


junior
high school girls

are more reality-based than what passes for current


elite
discourse
,
which consists largely of 99 percent



fact-free status posturing
.

Why this
intellectual decline? At present, Americans are, by
historical standards, extraordinarily rich. Thus, we assume
we will always be able to afford to indulge in petulance
rather than use


facts
and logic.

Of
course,


we
aren`t quite as rich as we thought

we were three years ago. But our intellectual maturity
hasn`t caught up yet.

So let`s
examine some logical objections to my argument for the
global warming worriers.

Consider
a very simplified model in which an immigrant from Mexico
will either succeed or fail at assimilating to American
norms on two dimensions: Earning and Consuming.


Let`s start with the upper left hand corner of this
quadrant: American
Dream
. In this scenario, the typical Mexican who
immigrates to the U.S. achieves the American Dream. He
succeeds at consuming like an American (e.g., big


SUV
,
big air-conditioned house in


suburbs
,


big TV
,
and so forth) and also (this is important) earning like an
American. Therefore, his contribution to global greenhouse
gas emission will be vastly greater than


if he
stayed home in Mexico.

Even more importantly, so will his descendants` carbon
emissions.

In the
lower right corner, we see the opposite outcome:




Undercaste
.
Here, the Mexican immigrant fails to earn a better life for
himself and his offspring. He does not succeed at
assimilating to American norms of earning and consuming. He
and his descendents


ride the
bus

to their low-productivity jobs. Under this scenario, Mexican
immigrants


don`t
pay enough taxes

to make up for all the


social
services they consume

and all the


damage
they do to the public schools.

Yet, at least from a greenhouse gas perspective, an
Undercaste outcome
would be great
news.

But, we
are constantly admonished that that



it`s racist to
even entertain the thought

that many Mexicans are unlikely to fully assimilate.


In the lower left corner is the unspoken liberal assumption
about the impact of Mexican immigration:
Ecotopia. This logical possibility is the favorite of the sort of
white liberals who have


farm
simulators

on their


iPhones
.
Of course, it is the least logical or possible.

They
assume Mexican immigrants rapidly achieve American levels of
income to pay the taxes for all the social programs that
progressives favor. Yet, for unexplained reasons, the
Mexican immigrants and their progeny choose to live like


Portland
trustfunders

whose hobby is a “sustainable” lifestyle based on walking to Whole Foods for heirloom
tomatoes. On the rare occasions when these Mexican immigrant
families drive anywhere, it would be in their vegetable
oil-powered


Toyota
Prius hybrid
.

The
Ecotopia
assumption is the only logical way to square
enthusiasm about immigration with alarmism about greenhouse
gases.

Of
course, this view is seldom articulated fully—because it`s
absurd to anybody who knows any Mexicans other than that
cool guy from Cuernavaca they met at film school.

It`s not
a coincidence that perhaps the finest contribution by
Chicanos to American popular art in the mid-20th Century was
the customized


lowrider
car
.
Mexicans love
cars—the bigger the better.

In
contrast, how many Mexicans do you see driving Prius
hybrids? As far as I can tell, Toyota hasn`t yet bothered
selling its Prius in Mexico (population 112,000,000). Nor do
many Mexican-Americans want one either. A poll of readers of



Prius
Chat

found that only 3 percent were Hispanic. If you are familiar
with the ethnic layout of Los Angeles County, you`ll enjoy
this


map

of Prius registrations by zip code.

Whatever
stereotypes


Larry
David`s

environmentalist


ex-wife

entertains about


flyover
folks`

lack of environmental sensitivity are much truer of Mexican
immigrants.

But that
never comes up in global warming worriers`
conversations—because they never pay attention to Mexicans.


In the upper right corner of the quadrant, the worst of both
worlds happen: Bush
Bubble
. In this scenario, the Mexican immigrant and his
offspring spend like an American—buying a big house, a big
vehicle, and a big TV, all on credit—but earn like a
Mexican. They eventually


default
on their mortgages.

And,
indeed, this is


roughly
what happened

in the exurbs of California during the Bush Bubble years: a
baby boom, a housing and spending bubble, and a crash of
defaults.


Moreover, the more you think about the impact of Mexican
immigration, the worse it is for carbon emissions.
Immigration contributes both directly and indirectly to
sprawl. Mexican immigration to cities tends to drive
Americans, including


blacks

and American-born Hispanics, to the exurbs to find decent
public school districts—at the cost of long commutes for
parents. For example, immigration into Los Angeles, with its
mild climate, spawned an enormous housing bubble in the hot


Inland
Empire
,
where air conditioning costs are high.

As Joel
Kotkin has often pointed out, most immigrants in the 21st
Century want to spend as little time in the inner city as
possible and instead move directly to a suburb or exurb.

Finally,
Mexican immigrants tend to have higher birthrates in America
than they would have had if they stayed home. In California
in 2005, foreign-born Latinas were having babies at a rate
of


3.7

children per lifetime versus about


2.4

for women in Mexico and 1.6 for American-born white women in
California.

On the whole, we can be sure that
immigration`s overall effect will be some combination of
American Dream,
Undercaste, and
Bush Bubble. It`s
not a coincidence that
Ecotopias
, such as Portland, are found far from the
Mexican border.

Let`s assume for the sake of calculating
immigration`s impact on carbon emissions in 2050 that the
optimists are right and
American Dream is
the standard outcome.

When the
impact of greenhouse gases on global warming is finally
brought to the attention of global warming activists, many
scoff at the idea that immigration could have any sizable
impact on the U.S. population.

But that
is simply ignorance. The Pew Research Center reported in
2008:

“If current trends
continue, the population of the United States will rise to
438 million in 2050, from 296 million in 2005, and 82% of
the increase will be due to immigrants arriving from 2005 to
2050 and their U.S.-born descendants, according to new
projections developed by the Pew Research Center
.”[Immigration
to Play Lead Role In Future U.S. Growth
,
by Jeffrey Passel and D`Vera Cohn, February 11, 2008]

So,
that`s 116 million additional people in America due to
immigration from 2005 onward. (Perhaps another 50 or 60
million of that forecasted population of 438 million would
be due to immigration from 1965-2004.)


Assuming that these immigrants emit carbon at the American
average, the U.S. in
2050 will emit 39 percent more carbon than if an




immigration moratorium

had been imposed in



2005
.


Confronted with this logic, global warming activists tend to
say: Well,


All We
Have To Do

is cut emissions per capita even more to make up for
immigration.

But
immigration means that we`re falling behind by about
one-third before we even begin to cut. How does that make
sense if we have to Save the World?

Each American would have to personally
reduce his or her carbon emissions by 28 percent by 2050,
simply to make up for post-2005 immigration. And that`s just
to keep the national carbon emission total flat.
Lowering U.S.
emissions becomes even more difficult due to immigration.


Conclusion: When you find yourself in a hole, the first
thing to do is to stop digging.

America
is widely denounced for accounting for about 20 percent of
world carbon dioxide outputs. Yet, the 2005-2050 addition to
the American population caused by immigration would alone
account for an additional eight percentage points of the
global total.

The net
effect of post-2005 immigration to America (taking into
account what the immigrants would have emitted back home in
Mexico or other countries), is six or seven points. In other
words, by 2050, post-2005 immigration to the U.S. will have
the impact on greenhouse gases of another one-third of an
America coming into existence.

The
impact by 2100 will be significantly greater.

Bottom
line: U.S. immigration restriction is a relatively simple
and sure way to restrict greenhouse gas emissions.

That it
almost never comes up in current debate says a great deal
about what might laughingly be described as modern
“thought”
.

[Steve Sailer (email
him) is


movie critic
for


The American Conservative
.

His website

www.iSteve.blogspot.com

features his daily blog. His new book,

AMERICA`S HALF-BLOOD PRINCE: BARACK OBAMA`S
"STORY OF RACE AND INHERITANCE", is
available


here
.]