PFIR’s Environmental Impact Statement: Part III

May 16, 2016 | PFIR

World Bank officials just cautioned that rapid population growth, combined with global warming, could cause severe water shortages across the globe. Americans would be wise to heed the warning — and limit population growth by reducing immigration.

As PFIR’s new Environmental Impact Statement explains, current immigration levels will overtax limited U.S. water resources, threatening public health and the economy.

America currently takes in 1.25 million immigrants each year. The resulting population growth will increase demand on already-strained water resources by 27 percent between 2010 and 2100.

The southwestern United States will especially suffer from the coming water crisis. The region is the fastest growing in the nation, and immigration accounts for over half of its population growth.

The added stress on the Southwest’s water supplies couldn’t come at a worse time. Scientists from NASA, Columbia University, and Cornell University predict that, by 2100, the region faces an 80 percent chance of suffering a 35-year long “mega-drought” — its worst dry spell in 1,000 years. They warn that continued greenhouse gas emissions — largely created from burning fossil fuels — are trapping heat in the atmosphere, which speeds evaporation and reduces precipitation. That makes a crippling drought extremely likely.

Such a drought would deplete drinking water supplies, devastate the agricultural sector, and generally make life miserable across the Southwest.

Instead of mitigating global warming, U.S. immigration policy exacerbates it. Adding 1.25 million immigrants each year will boost the total U.S. population 70 percent by 2100. Correspondingly, greenhouse gas emissions will increase 70 percent.

A course correction is desperately needed. If the United States were to admit only 250,000 immigrants each year, carbon emissions would rise just 23 percent. That would make a drought less likely, and reduce demand on water supplies even if one does occur.

Reducing immigration to curb population growth won’t completely wash away the risks of drought and global warming. But the solution isn’t a drop in the bucket, either — it’d substantially ease pressure on limited natural resources that Americans need.

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