Controlling Immigration Critical to Meeting Goals on U.S. Greenhouse Emissions, Finds New Report by FAIR
Congress Considers Caps on Energy Consumption, but Not on U.S. Population Growth
(July 1, 2009 — Washington, D.C.) - Last week the U.S. House of Representative approved a 1,500 page piece of legislation aimed at reducing America’s output of carbon emissions, which supporters suggest contributes to global climate change. If implemented, the legislation would require a 17 percent reduction (from 2005 levels) in carbon emissions by 2020 and an 83 percent reduction by 2050.
These will be very difficult goals to meet under the best of circumstances. But, even as Congress and President Obama seek to put America on a strict energy diet, they are pursuing other policies that will make reductions in energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions virtually impossible, finds a new report by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). This report again confirms that many elements of today’s immigration policy run counter to most of America’s most important long-range priorities.
Immigration, Energy and the Environment addresses America’s stifled immigration policy debate: it finds that America’s massive immigration-fueled population growth was the single largest contributing factor to the nation’s increased energy consumption and carbon emissions over the past 35 years. Even without a massive amnesty for illegal aliens supported by President Obama and congressional leaders, immigration will be the driving factor as U.S. population approaches the half billion mark by mid-century.
“Most Americans support the idea of reducing our nation’s dependence on fossil fuels, out of concern for the environment and national security,” observed Dan Stein, president of FAIR. “As Immigration, Energy and the Environment finds, Americans have reduced their per capita energy consumption, but population growth caused by unchecked immigration has steadily increased our energy use and our carbon emissions. “It’s like buying an SUV that gets half the gas mileage of your previous car while claiming its OK because you’ll only drive half as far each day these forces operate against one another to the detriment of Americans here today,” Stein said.
“It is simply incongruous to believe that the nation can have an energy and environmental policy without also having a coherent population policy,” Stein stated. “Controlling runaway U.S. population growth must begin with rational and enforceable immigration policies and dramatic, sustained reductions in overall immigration. But, while Congress and the president are asking Americans to alter the way they live and work, they are simultaneously pursuing immigration policies that would unleash even more massive population growth in the U.S.”
Among the key findings of Immigration, Energy and the Environment:
Americans achieved more than a 9 percent reduction in per capita energy consumption between 1973 and 2007. During that same period, U.S. population increased nearly 70 percent and total energy consumption grew by 33 percent.
In order to meet the 2012 goals set forth in the Kyoto Treaty, per capita U.S. energy consumption would have to be reduced by 37 percent, even as U.S. population increases by 3.4 million people annually.
“U.S. population growth is the single greatest obstacle to achieving energy independence and reducing our greenhouse emissions,” said Stein. “It is not the fault of immigrants for requiring energy resources. It is the fault of U.S. policymakers for failing to recognize and correct immigration policies that undermine our ability to achieve vital energy and environmental goals.
“The role of immigration generated population growth cannot be ignored as Congress and the Obama administration tackle these very difficult issues,” concluded Stein.
The full report, Immigration, Energy and the Environment, is available here.