Among President Biden’s first day executive actions is one that promised to tackle climate change, a primary concern of Congress. Included as part of the Biden administration’s climate change objectives are rejoining the Paris Agreement and leading what the administration called a clean energy revolution that will, by 2035, achieve a carbon pollution-free power sector. On Earth Day 2021, Biden will host a Leaders’ Climate Summit where he’ll emphasize his ambitious agenda.
Biden’s goals are noble, but assuming they’re eventually achievable, they’re down the road. Ever-growing human populations, with their larger carbon footprint, are a big variable in climate change. But Biden is ignoring the current Southwest border crisis that will add tens of thousands of people to the nation’s 330 million residents.
The Wall Street Journal reported that, through February, Customs and Border Protection will have taken 9,000 unaccompanied minors into custody, an unprecedented crisis. Biden’s administration also announced that it will admit 25,000 asylum seekers held in Mexico.
Making northbound travel more appealing to prospective asylees, Biden ordered Immigration and customs officials to lay out the red carpet. The federal government is, at taxpayer expense, flying aliens to mainland destinations where their presence, proof of the unpopular border surge with voters, will be less visible.
Under Biden, the children and adult asylees will remain in the U.S. indefinitely, raise families and add to the U.S. carbon footprint as automobile, housing and durable goods consumers. When family reunification kicks in, the number of new, settled migrants will increase by a factor of more than three, the number that Princeton University found represents the average number of immigrants from abroad that will join their stateside relatives. The average U.S. carbon footprint for each individual in the U.S. is 16 tons, among the world’s highest.
Population growth, whether created through natural increases by births outnumbering deaths or in-migration outpacing out-migration, is, the Census Bureau confirms, the leading cause of the United States’ ever-larger carbon footprint. Regulations like those the Biden administration hopes to put in place cannot negate the nation’s current immigrant intake of more than 1 million annually plus whatever unknown number of illegal aliens successfully cross the border.
During the early 1970s, President Richard Nixon signed several laws aimed at reducing each American’s per capita effect on the environment. Five decades ago, when Nixon was president, the U.S. population was 203 million. Today immigration-fueled growth has pushed the nation’s population to 330 million. According to the Census Bureau, the U.S. receives one net international migrant every 666 seconds. The Census Bureau also predicts that by mid-decade, immigration will be the largest contributor to a U.S. population that exceeds 400 million, and will inevitably create a larger carbon footprint.
Whatever legislative changes the Biden administration may rule on in the guise of clean energy and reducing climate change impacts, their positive impacts will be reduced or completely negated by the increased emissions from millions of new people. Research in 2020 from The Journal of Population and Sustainability evaluated 44 countries, including the U.S., and found that emissions arising from population growth between 1990 and 2019 wiped out two-thirds of the emission reductions that arose from greater energy efficiency programs.
Blame Congress, not immigrants. Newly arrived migrants require more urban development — housing, schools, health care, governmental services, streets, parking, waste removal and places to work, shop and worship. The result is more urban sprawl, and its irreversible habitat loss.
In 1996, President Clinton, as part of his “Population and Consumption Task Force Report, President’s Council on Sustainable Development,” urged that immigration be discussed “with sensitivity and care” on behalf of “the American future.”
Republicans and Democrats alike have ignored Clinton’s sound advice for 25 years. Their shameful cowardice — they know if they spoke the truth about immigration and population, the public wouldn’t support their agenda — ensured that runaway growth would escalate during those two and a half decades.
Joe Guzzardi has written about immigration, population and the environment for more than 30 years. More @OurCarbonFootprint. Contact Joe at firstname.lastname@example.org.