Immigration and Carbon Emissions

So an extra 150 million or so people. Apparently the Sierra Club used to oppose large scale immigration on the basis population growth causes massive environmental problems. However, apparently caved to pressure by a major donor in the mid 90’s.

Why is immigration restriction (and hence limiting first world population growth) never mentioned by Al Gore or others as a means of limiting CO2 emissions?

I think the principal reason is that, since immigration has been overwhelmingly non-Anglo for generations, any opposition to it is conflated by many environmentalists with racism. Others may not personally hold that view, but leave the subject off the table for political-strategic reasons. I do worry about overpopulation myself, but I think the real problem with it is that we do not handle such growth in a way that would not only be more environmentally friendly, but might also preserve our sanity and comfort. Some people like urban density and would love to live in a high rise condo or apartment, steps from their jobs and everything else they need, but few people can. The housing market, in general, is not geared to this, but to single family housing tracts dependent on roads and cars. So the city condo has an aspect of a boutique–and hence expensive–lifestyle.

Environmentalists ignore many things that could alleviate global warming or at least buy us some time, nuclear power and geoengineering being the two most prominent ones. Which leads to the suggestion that environmentalism is a cultural movement with totems and taboos rather than a serious policy response to an objective problem.

It is clear that the factor that has the greatest impact on environmental degradation is the level of population. Individual levels of resource consumption is another factor that affects environmental impact.

The easiest way to put a break on population growth in the short term is via immigration policy - reducing rate of immigration. Longer term is improvement in education and social security.

As mentioned above environmentalists probably don’t discuss this obvious solution because of an irrational taboo or fear of being seen as racist.

If someone could solve this problem we will reduce the risk of ecological collapse, but I am sure this is not going to happen.

Probably because it’s a piss-poor concept, given growth in emerging markets, where immigration (or emigration rather) will pretty much have fuck all for impact.

Indeed limiting immigration on the side of the developed economies probably would not have CO2 limiting effects given greater and less efficient consumption in emerging market by same persons, plus likely greater use of labour substituting (and thus, all things being equal, energy consuming) devices in developed markets as they faced demographic decline.

You are wrong about the second point. A single person has a much smaller ecological footprint living in an third world country. When they migrate to a developed economy their ecological footprint expands.

Continued immigration into developed economies is going to have a significant environmental impact on those countries. If those developed countries can minimise risk of destruction of their own ecosystems then they should take such steps.

Ecological footprint?

What the bloody fuck does that even mean?

If you’re confusing carbon emission estimation with ecological impact, you’re wrong.

Eco impact should include deforestation due to inefficient ag production, permanent or at least long-term degradation of soil productivity from over-intensive exploitation, desertification, etc.

Carbon emissions are one part of an equation, and it’s fuzzy heady eco left tripe to mistake that variable for “eco impact” (whatever that may mean, typical fuzzy terms)

As for carbon emissions, given currently projected growth rates of fossil fuel consumption in emerging markets, for example, it is hardly true that immigration restrictions are particularly useful or economically literate fashion to address carbon emissions (the specific point I addressed)

Whatever, using semi-literate eco-fuzzy headedness as an excuse for immigration restrictions does not impress.

Environmentalism and support for immigration (as an aspect of anti-racism) are primarily on the agenda of the left side of the political spectrum. But what further compounds the reluctance to oppose immigration by the left is the sure fire need to support immigration to provide a sizeable work force that will support social programs for the increasing elderly population who heeded the call to limit their offspring to 1.7 kids per couple.

Yes, no matter what, money talks.

Ecological footprint is directly linked to carbon emissions. It also takes into account pressure on natural resources. It is not just a matter of efficiencies of resource extraction, but the overall draw on those resources.

There are two ways to reduce overall impact on ecosystems:

  1. Reduce average ecological footprint
  2. Reduce population

Immigration is supported by both sides of politics because it stimulates the economy - providing labour and consumers.

Yep, money talks. So we are stuffed.

There are good reasons to be concerned about geoengineering schemes. Potential issues include costs, unintended consequences, the fact that cooling schemes will not exactly offset the climate impact of increasing greenhouse gases (e.g., they can have non-canceling distributional effects on temperature and non-canceling effects on precipitation), and the fact that such schemes seem to require much tighter constraints on exactly what the magnitude of the effects of greenhouse gases are than is required to determine just that the problem is severe enough that we need to take actions to limit and eventually reduce our emissions.

This doesn’t mean that research should not be done into geoengineering schemes…It should. But, it shouldn’t be used as an excuse to actually reduce our emissions of greenhouse gases.

That theory seems rather overly simplistic. In fact, a few years ago (at least one time, mayble more) there was a move afoot (perhaps by some of the people now running that SUSPS organization) to run candidates for the Board of the Sierra Club who supported a more anti-immigration stand. And, the membership of the club has chosen not to elect those candidates. So, no, it isn’t just some wealthy donor forcing the directors of the club to not take an anti-immigration stand; it seems to be a large number of us members who don’t want them to take such a stand either.

And preventing immigration into our developed nation (like working to prevent the developing nations from developing and advancing) does not seem to many of us to be a very humane or even productive way to deal with issues of overuse of resources, greenhouse gas emissions, and the like. Hence, it is not surprising that environmental groups have not for the most part endorsed these strategies (although some anti-environmentalists have tried to paint environmental groups as doing so).

What is the reasoning here? I am curious.

Immigration increases population, hence impacting negatively on ecosystems. So reducing immigration seems to be an effective way of reducing this impact.

However, putting effort into improving the standard of living in developing countries is a good use of resources. It is humane and reduces population growth, without the need for immigration.