Democrats & Liberals Archives

The Looming Illegal Immigration Catastrophe

According to the latest report on global warming, within twenty years, hundreds of millions of people won’t have enough water to live. That includes tens of millions of Latin Americans. Where do you think those tens of millions of Latin Americans will go?

At the same time, tens of millions of others will be flooded out of their homes each year as the Earth reels from rising temperatures and sea levels, according to portions of a draft of an international scientific report.

Where are those tens of millions of people each year going to go? I think we know the answer to that: They'll head north.

What I don't understand is why the Americans who are crying loudest about illegal immigration are in complete denial about a process that will make today's border problems look inconsequential. Even worse are those who see the threat, but don't think there's anything we can do about it -- the defeatists.

The report offers some hope if nations slow and then reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, but it notes that what's happening now isn't encouraging.

The process of global warming can be reversed the same way we reversed the erosion of the ozone layer. We made a commitment to solve the problem, even though giving up aerosol cans for bottles with squirt caps was inconvenient and our industries were sure they'd lose money. It turned out that it wasn't inconvenient at all, and nobody lost money.

The most common complaint these global warming defeatists present is the short-term cost of solving the problem. As is usual for these people, no thought is given to the long term costs of doing nothing. What do you think the cost will be of tens, maybe hundreds of millions of refugees fleeing parched regions and rising tides within the next twenty years? What will be the cost of the disease and famine that will strike our nation if nothing is done?

Balanced against that, what would be the cost of a cap and trade system to cut greenhouse gasses and avert this looming disaster? President Bush's Energy Information Administration has the answer: It would cost a whopping 0.1% of our gross domestic product (full report). That's right, one tenth of one percent of our GDP. That averages out to about $78 per family.

So there's your choice: Famine, disease and tens of millions of refugees flooding our borders as a result of global warming or seventy eight bucks per family to avert it.

Posted by American Pundit at March 15, 2007 11:25 PM
Comments
Comment #212218

Whoah. That’s the scariest thing I have ever read.

Posted by: Max at March 16, 2007 1:01 AM
Comment #212220

AP,
Global Warming cannot really be reversed, short of initiating some very speculative solutions like deploying sun screens in space, seeding the upper atmosphere with SO2 droplets, and so on. The only question is, can we stop making the problem even worse.

For example, the heat absorbed by the ocean is slowly being transported deeper and deeper. The estimates say this will cause thermal expansion, which will cause sea levels to continue to rise for centuries, regardless of what we do.

Posted by: phx8 at March 16, 2007 1:12 AM
Comment #212221

Preventing devastating floods of illegal immigrants (interspersed with terrorists) ALSO can’t be averted because Democrats refuse to close the border to all except those we CHOOSE to let in.

Democrats and Republicans, Damned with either party in power.

Posted by: David R. Remer at March 16, 2007 1:24 AM
Comment #212228

phx8, can you point me to something that says global warming can’t be reversed. I understand that the longer we let it go the worse it will get, and that some of the effects are irreversible, but I haven’t heard that the Earth is doomed to never having a lower average temperature than it does today.

In any case, according to the Bush administration’s EIA, it won’t cost much to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Posted by: American Pundit at March 16, 2007 2:22 AM
Comment #212233

Good article AP, and thanks for scaring the bejesus out of me.

“In any case, according to the Bush administration’s EIA, it won’t cost much to cut greenhouse gas emissions.”

You trust their environmental impact assessment? And their figures on how much something will cost?
I can’t tell if you’re joking or not!

Posted by: Adrienne at March 16, 2007 4:18 AM
Comment #212236

AP,
Thanks for posting this. The red column is still arguing against the existence of the scientific process. Here we accept facts and deal with them.

Someone ought to put this topic in a time capsule and open it up in 20 years, because at the rate we are going there may be a 3rd world version of the dust bowl migration headed our way and I’d like some proof we saw it coming.

I don’t think rising sea levels are the main problem for Latin American migration, but the impact of climate change on crops is what will drive it. It will be about food, and will manifest itself in either drought or too much tropical rainfall depending on what happens where.

To address a potential food shortage in Latin America the solution is to raise the income levels of those countries to the point where food imports become affordable. But, as we are all aware, there is a long history of export markets not developing in Latin America to the point where national income rises. And that will be a pre-requisite for real income growth in Latin America.

So what will happen? I think in 20 years or so the US will find itself sending massive amounts of food to parts of Latin America to keep people from leaving. And some commentators will talk about how “generous” we are because of that.

Posted by: Steve K at March 16, 2007 8:38 AM
Comment #212249

Good post! People joke about how global warming will make winters bearable in Buffalo, NY but don’t think about other consequences. Thanks for articulating them.

phx8 - Where did you get that information? As I understand it, if we reduce the amount of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere temperatures will go down, though if the polar ice caps melt and the gulf stream stops things get a lot more complicated. Granted, getting the world to do this will not be easy. Heck, getting the US to do it will not be easy. Multinational corporations are more concerned with short-term profit than the deaths of hundreds of millions of people. I think they believe that nothing will happen till they are gone either that or they beieve the junk-science that they have been funding (which I doubt).

Posted by: Tom Snediker at March 16, 2007 10:39 AM
Comment #212254

I’ve said this again and again, but… I’ll say it again. If 90% of the scientific community is on board with saying a disaster will happen in 20 years that will kill hundreds of thousands and seriously marr the planet, what else do you need to know to take it seriously? I understand being skeptical, but doesn’t it just seem prudent to be prepared and work against it just in case? Why are Republicans so hell bent against the idea of preparing for something many scientists feel is likely to happen? This boggles my mind. Why is this a partisan issue?

Posted by: Max at March 16, 2007 11:06 AM
Comment #212264

Golly Gee, sure scared me! Too cold, Too Hot, will someone please tell me what world average temperature is just right. Was the last ice age just right, were the mild temps of the middle ages better, how do we mere humans get it just right for everyone? Frankly, fireants scare me more than all this blather. Jim

Posted by: Jim at March 16, 2007 11:35 AM
Comment #212274
Frankly, fireants scare me more than all this blather.

Thanks for bringing that up, Jim. From the article I cite:

Tropical diseases like malaria will spread. By 2050, polar bears will mostly be found in zoos, their habitats gone. Pests like fire ants will thrive.
Posted by: American Pundit at March 16, 2007 12:07 PM
Comment #212304

All the more reason to start reducing emissions and securing the borders.
Already, illegal aliens are costing U.S. tax payers over $70 billion per year in NET losses.
The losses for California alone are over $10 billion per year.
The U.S. has 4% of the world population, but emits 25% of the world’s Carbon Dioxide Emissions (2005).

But, it’s all pie in the sky.
The over-bloated federal government can’t do anything in a hurry, except vote themselves another raise (9 times in the last decade) and some more cu$hy perk$.

Here’s another issue that is under-reported: Arable Land (land that can grow crops). Of the Earth’s 57 million square miles (148 million km²) of land, approximately 12 million square miles (31 million km²) are arable. However, arable land is being lost at the rate of over 100,000 km² (38,610 square miles) per year. At that rate, all arable land could be lost in 310 years ! (12 million mi² / (38,610 mi² / year)).

Also, the exploding human population worldwide will exacerbate all other problems too. Looking at the graph, the population continues to grow even during major world wars. It appears we can multiply faster than we can kill each other. However, we may finally change that if we mess up our shrinking and increasingly polluted planet.

Posted by: d.a.n at March 16, 2007 1:35 PM
Comment #212318

Tom,
See the IPCC report. Here is the link to the pdf file for the 2007 Summary for Policymakers:

http://www.ipcc.ch/SPM2feb07.pdf

There are a number of scenarios for Climate Change which vary, depending upon when humanity does in the next decades. In any event, a degree of warming is already locked in due to the persistence of atmospheric CO2, and the sea levels will continue to rise a little because of the heat that has already been absorbed.

Posted by: phx8 at March 16, 2007 2:06 PM
Comment #212323

d.a.n. Was it Paul Ehrlick (sp) that wrote “The Population Bomb” or something similar in the 70’s predicting massive starvation by the 90’s due to uncontrolled population growth? I believe we are still paying our farmers not to grow crops and the world is awash in food. I will admit that the surplus food being produced isn’t always reaching those who need it but that’s a political problem. Writers who peddle fear and catastrophe are a dime a dozen and just aren’t believeable any more. Scientific papers have been written and then idiotic conclusions have been drawn attempting to portray a supposed “consensus” among the scientific community when in fact the published findings are written by hacks skewing the opinions and findings of many of those submissions. Those with the credentials to draw conclusions are still undecided as to the cause of global warming. No thinking person refutes that we are in a period of global warming just as we have been in the past. And global cooling will occur again just as it has in the past. What is in doubt, at this time, is the cause of global warming and cooling. There is not one person, or study, or consus that can provide irrefutable proof that man has anything to do with global warming or cooling. All the hand-wringing and fevered irrational solutions are merely for political purpose. Demands for action in response to a “what-if” scenario is silly. I can provide many fictionalized horrors that are much worse then the supposed calamity of worldwide, continuous global warming.

Posted by: Jim at March 16, 2007 2:19 PM
Comment #212332

Jim,
You write: “Scientific papers have been written and then idiotic conclusions have been drawn attempting to portray a supposed “consensus” among the scientific community when in fact the published findings are written by hacks skewing the opinions and findings of many of those submissions. Those with the credentials to draw conclusions are still undecided as to the cause of global warming.

That is simply not true. Here is a link for the IPCC membership, and a brief description of their writing process:

http://www.ipcc.ch/about/faq/IPCC%20Who%20is%20who.pdf

Google the name Naomi Oreskes. She conducted a survey of over 800 peer-reviewed articles on Global Warming, representing about 10% of the published work. Not one rejected the idea that human beings are causing Climate Change.

That is not to say there are no reputable scientists rejecting the idea. About 1.5% of the IPCC scientists reject it, and that represents the larger concensus of the scientific community.

If you read the IPCC summary, you will see the language is very careful. We are dealing with likelihoods in excess of 90%. Many IPCC scientists wanted to express the likeliehood as “virtually certain,” over 99%, but this decision was rejected, and more conservative language chosen.

There are many scenarios presented, anticipating possible approaches by humanity to producing additional greenhouse gases. Again, read the article. Projections can be altered by action, but it will only mitigate the resulting warming, not stop it.

Posted by: phx8 at March 16, 2007 2:45 PM
Comment #212346

Jim,

6.7 billion people pumping 24 billion metric tons of Carbon Dioxide into the atmosphere is not trivial.
Especially when it is year after year.
Especially when other developing nations (i.e. China, India with 2.4 billion people) haven’t yet come close to the emissions by the U.S. (25% of all emissions by a mere 4% of the world population).
I don’t have a crystal ball, but this is the type of problem that should be studied and addressed early, because if we wait too long, it may be too late to change course.
Global warming is not the whole picture either.
Pollution, over-fishing, thousands of species extinctions in the last few hundred years, decreasing arable land, not to mention our planet is essentially in the middle of huge shooting gallery (NOTE: 5.6 MB), which could render all the rest irrelavant.

At any rate, what is the harm in others trying to find ways to reduce pollution, our dependency on foreign oil, and ways to protect the environment ?

It’s fine and one’s right to disbelieve global warming, but why is it so offensvie to some non-believers, when there’s really no harm in researching the issue further, and possibly developing new technologies to protect the environment, and find new and cleaner energy alternatives ?

Also, it’s important to remember that you could be wrong.
What if you are wrong?
What’s the difference between you being wrong, and those choosing to err on the side of caution?
And, if you are wrong, it’s important to remember that the U.S.’s 301 million people are only 4.4% of the world population.

If there is a problem, and even if the U.S. can change course in-time to avoid bigger problems, what about the rest of the world?
That’s one of the most dangerous things about this potential (and growing) problem.
Also, the exploding human population worldwide (which has grown from 3 billion in 1959 to 6.68 billion in 2006) will exacerbate all other problems too.
Saying our government pays farmers not to grow food or plow under crops doesn’t prove that the world will always have enough for everyone in the future (perhaps, the not too distant future?).

The planet has limits.
Everything does.
Perhaps those other dooms-day books were wrong.
But that doesn’t mean we are invincible.
That doesn’t mean we aren’t capable of crappin’ in our own nest until the bough finally snaps.

Posted by: d.a.n at March 16, 2007 4:02 PM
Comment #212356

Phx8 and d.a.n. Dan, I read your reference to the IPCC and now ask that you read mine…
http://www.aim.org/media_monitor/A347_0_2_0_C/
which is the Accuracy in Media website. Should you do a google search “global warming refuted” you will find thousands of sources that I believe are just a reliable as policital hacks working in the U.N. My degree is in Natural Resource Management from the U of Wisconsin. I am not against research and absoutely favor developing new sources of energy. What bothers me is the knee-jerk reaction to the media hype that surrounds this issue and the political pandering that goes with it. Jim

Posted by: Jim at March 16, 2007 4:45 PM
Comment #212357

Here’s something to think about (with regard to population and arable land).

The Earth has 57 million square miles of land (36.48 billion acres; there’s 640 acres per square mile).
The population in 1959 was 3.0 billion people.
The population in 2006 was 6.68 billion people (more than doubled in 47 years).
The population by 2039 could be 13 billion (only 33 years from now).

In 1959, there were 12.16 acres per person (i.e. 36.48 billion acres / 3 billion people).
In 2006, there were 5.46 acres per person (i.e. 36.48 billion acres / 6.68 billion people).
By 2039, there may be only 2.81 acres per person (i.e. 36.48 billion acres / 13 billion people).

However, consider that there is only 12 million square miles (7.68 billion acres) of arable Land.
And, ingore for a moment that arable land is being lost at a rate of 38,610 square miles per year.
That is, lets assume no arable land is being lost for the next 33 years.

In 2006, there was 1.15 acres of arable land per person (i.e. 7.68 billion acres / 6.68 billion people).
By 2039, there may be only 0.59 acres of arable land per person (i.e. 7.68 billion acres / 13 billion people).

However, arable land is being lost at the rate of over 38,610 square miles per year.
There, by 2039, there may be only 0.53 acres of arable land per person (i.e. 6.865 billion acres / 13 billion people).

At that current rate of loss of 38,610 square miles per year of arable land, all arable land could be lost in 310 years ! (12 million square miles / 38,610 mi² per year).

Starting to get the picture ?

The planet Earth has limits.

Anyone who thinks over-population isn’t a problem needs to explain away the obvious implications of the numbers above.

Posted by: d.a.n at March 16, 2007 4:47 PM
Comment #212367

d.a.n. Perhaps someone will discover a way to build multi-story buildings in 310 years. I live on 10 acres here in East Texas and don’t grow any crops. I suppose that’s another sin that I will have to account for in the hereafter. Using your extrapolation methods, I would suppose that 400 years ago, with the earth containing the same acreage, many people were who were starving and those who studied the catastrophe were recommending population reduction. But then, if that had happened, you and I probably wouldn’t exist.

Posted by: Jim at March 16, 2007 5:33 PM
Comment #212375

Jim,
You link an article written by Notra Trulock. He is not an expert in climatology. He is the former Director of Counter-Intelligence for DOE. The article is four years old, and apparently refers to older expressions of skepticism.

Here is a chart that gives you a sense of where we are today v 400 years ago:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:2000_Year_Temperature_Comparison.png

Please note the chart stops at 2004. The trend continues spiking upwards through today. And we are considerably higher than at the height of the last interim warming.

Meanwhile, here is a chart of atmospheric CO2:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Carbon_Dioxide_400kyr-2.png

Atmospheric CO2 & termperature trends match each other closely no matter how far back you look. The current level of CO2 suggests we are going to experience substantially higher temperatures.

There are still a few skeptics among scientists, but they are counting on ideas without backing evidence, or demanding 100% certainty, which of course will not be available until after the fact.

Posted by: phx8 at March 16, 2007 6:20 PM
Comment #212377

Jim,

I’m not as worried about knee-jerk reactions as I am that Do-Nothing Congress will continue to live up to it’s name, and continue to ignore the nation’s pressing problems.

400 years ago, farming technology wasn’t very advanced. So, yields were low.
Poplation growth was small (almost linear compared to the exponential growth now).
The world population grew by 1 billion between 1804 and 1922 (118 years).
Now, the population grew by 1 billion in only ten years (1996 to 2006)!
The next 1 billion will occur in only 8 or 9 years.
The population is currently increasing by 274 thousand persons per day!

Regardless of whether people live in multi-story buildings or not, people still ultimately get food from the land and the seas.

The seas are already severely over-fished. If the population continues to grow as it has, then we’re likely to see problems related to population, arable land, and pollution in only 33 years !

Thus, we may not have 400 years, or 310 years, or even 100 years to figure it out.

Based on these numbers, we could only have a few decades to develop the technology to feed 13 billion people. The fact is, the world needs to start thinking seriously about population, before it becomes a matter of life and death.

Posted by: d.a.n at March 16, 2007 6:25 PM
Comment #212382

Global warming and the environment is most likely a serious problem.
However, over-population and diminishing arable land is already definitely a serious problem.

Over-population, diminishing arable land, and over-fished oceans alone is ample reason for concern now, and will get worse for the next 33 years, much less the impacts of global warming.
In fact, global warming could also reduce the amount of arable land by submerging it underwater, and further reducing the acres per person (currently at only 1.15 acres per person; i.e. 7.68 million arable acres/6.68 billion people).

Also, with the current 6.68 billion persons pumping 24 billion metric tons, just think what that may be like in only 33 years when the population doubles to 13 billion people (not to mention that there will only be 0.53 acres per person, provided arable land is not lost at a greater rate than now)?

That’s what is scary.
The current 24 billion metric tons of CO2 could easily quadruple in only 33 years due only to economic growth in China and India alone!

Posted by: d.a.n at March 16, 2007 6:51 PM
Comment #212424

Illegal immigration won’t be a problem. By the time global warming becomes a problem, All Mexicans will already be here and we will simply turn Mexico into another state. We get their oil and they get minimum wage jobs, Problem solved.

Posted by: tomd at March 16, 2007 10:49 PM
Comment #212459

Did you know that 29% of all incarcerated in all federal prisons are illegal aliens?
Did you know 32% of all illegal aliens receive welfare?
Net losses are over $70 billion per year.
We can’t afford another amnesty that quadruples the prolem again (like after the amnesty of 1986).
And those costs don’t even include the untold cost of crime, disease, and 2.3 million displaced American workers.

Today, CNN reported Chagas Disease is spreading to the U.S. Chagas disease affects over 14 million South Americans and kills 50,000 annually. Now it is streaming across our borders as unchecked thousands enter our society illegally. If your child goes to public school, they could be exposed, as thousands already have been.

Importing tens or hundreds of millions of less educated and impoverished won’t improve anything, except the profits for the greedy employers of illegal aliens.
The Problem and the Solution.

Posted by: d.a.n at March 17, 2007 1:51 AM
Comment #212623
What I don’t understand is why the Americans who are crying loudest about illegal immigration are in complete denial about a process that will make today’s border problems look inconsequential. Even worse are those who see the threat, but don’t think there’s anything we can do about it — the defeatists.
Yes, the environmental issues may well be the most serious issues we face in the next 30 years (or less).

There are lots of things we can do.
The question is, will we do it in time?
Humans are basically lazy. They usually don’t take collective action until something signficant motivates them.

Well, they may be about to get that motivation.
Pain and misery is a good motivator.
The painful consequences for so much fiscal and moral, and ignoring things too long may not be that far away.

Posted by: d.a.n at March 18, 2007 6:24 PM
Comment #241431

Global warming is not really in question. That’s what happens when youre coming out of an ice age. The part that is in question is whether it is caused by anthropogenic CO2. Actually there is more evidence that the CO2 levels are rising because of global warming than the other way around. Carbon dioxide is so small a constituent of the atmosphere 0.038% and such a weak infrared absorber that any self respecting climatologist not working to get grant money from this government or that on unsubstantiated claims of impending disaster should be trying to get the word out. Oh that’s right; They are. Over four hundred actual climatologists are speaking out, as opposed to the philosophers, dentists and politically appointed investigators of the IPCC whose document “The IPCC Report” makes no positive claims of proof or conclusion that global warming is actually happening, much less that it is due to human activity. Unfortunately their voices are being muffled by a socialist media and the need that most politicians have to show some positive action on something. Unfortunately this means that Chicken Little gets the press and the governments will throw away more money on overprioritised research. We’ll eventually learn something from it but it won’t confirm the present political hypothesis. This is obvious to anyone with a modicum of scientific analytical ability and no predisposition to prove a particular result. Get educated and make your own determination. Stop drinking the koolaid.

Posted by: Carbonbasedunit at December 25, 2007 2:49 PM
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