Right-Wing anti-Immigrant Attack: US Immigration Responsible for Global Warming

Remember those, “The More You Know” Public Service Announcement on NBC? Weren’t those always fun and informative? Yeah, I think one of those shorts prevented me from smoking a joint with friends one day back in the 10th grade. But now that I’m all grown up, it’s good to see that the people who own NBC are still in the business of informing the public. Information like what I saw in the following commercial on MSNBC the other night. It’s an anti-immigration television spot that’s ironically devoid of scientific data that links the influx of immigrants in California to global warming.

Oh how I love these commercials from the folks over at capsweb.org:

The TV spots point out that when immigrants settle in the U.S., their energy use quickly becomes Americanized. As a result their carbon emissions skyrocket.  The result is a quadrupling of immigrants’ carbon footprints compared to the amount of carbon emissions they produced in their home countries.

The TV spot is based on a Center for Immigrations Studies (CIS) report about U.S. immigration and carbon emissions.  While the CAPS TV spot is focused more on future carbon emissions, the CIS study looks at current carbon emissions.  Currently, US immigrants produce an estimated 637 million metric tons of CO2 annually or the same amount of carbon emissions currently produced by Great Britain and Sweden, combined.

Contributing to Global Warming: Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., eats a tortilla during a campaign stop at Sombrero Festival following a prayer meeting with Hispanic Evangelical ministers Friday, Feb. 29, 2008, in Brownsville, Texas. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

I don’t know about you, but until I saw this commercial the other night, I had no idea why we had such a mild winter here in Tennessee recently. Thankfully, due in large part to those fine folks concerned about the environment, and the possibility of being attacked by polar bears at backyard family gatherings in Los Angeles. We now know that global warming is not a hoax as often believed by right-wing truth tellers. Instead, we now know that thirty Mexicans living in one apartment is as much a threat to the environment and the world at large as is the Obama presidency.

OK, so they never actually mentioned the browning of America in the add, so I can’t actually call them racist. But hey, they’re talking about California; surely they’re not referring to illegal immigrants from Canada. I mean, everybody knows that Canadian illegal immigrants are crossing the US boarder in an attempt to survive and avoid those polar bears I mentioned earlier. Yep, the ones forced to move south to look for food since the polar caps are now melting all thanks in large part to those Mexicans with their foreign language, loud music, lowriders, and that damn activist judge, Sonya Sotomayor.

Check this out via my lefty buddies at thinkprogress.org:

The claim that immigrants have a carbon footprint four times larger in the U.S. comes from a CIS report, which has deeply flawed methodology. The report claims that a person’s CO2 emissions is directly related to his or her personal income — so a person making $110,000 per year will emit 10 percent more carbon than a person who earns $100,000 per year under the report’s methodology. Thus, because the report claims that each Mexican immigrant earns 53.2 percent of the average U.S. resident, it claims that these immigrants must also produce 53.2 percent of the carbon emissions.

But this is simply absurd. If such a relationship actually did exist, that would mean that Mitt Romney, who earned $21.6 million in 2010 — or more than 600 times the average annual income according to the CIS report — also must have produced 600 times the CO2 emissions. That’s enough of a carbon footprint to fuel over 2,200 vehicles or power more than 1,400 homes for an entire year. Not even John McCain owns that many houses.

There’s also robust data showing that immigrants produce less carbon emissions than their native-born citizen counterparts. Brookings found in 2008 that the 10 highest carbon-emitting cities have an average immigrant population below 5 percent, while the cities with the lowest carbon footprint have an average immigrant population of 26 percent. And as CAP Senior Fellow Andrew Light told ThinkProgress, even if we could suddenly remove the entire carbon impact created by immigrants, it would only decrease the U.S.’s carbon emissions by 7.32 percent in a good year. Clearly, immigrants are not to blame for the U.S.’s large climate footprint.

Rather than falsely blame immigrants for carbon emissions that have fed global warming, Americans should focus on practical solutions like better land use policies and landscape design to conserve resources. Los Angeles, which has a burgeoning second- and third-generation immigrant population, has seen its water usage decline to a 32-year low despite a population increase of 1 million people. It can be done, but using anti-immigrant sentiment to misplace blame to one section of the population distracts from what the U.S. should be doing to address global warming instead.

I’m going to overlook the fact that I saw this commercial on MSNBC during it’s prime-time left-wing political lineup. But then again, maybe them airing this ad serves as yet another example of that Liberal Bias I often hear my right-wing buddies talking about; yeah, I’ll leave it at that for now.

NOTE:  Click here to read about the Center for Immigrations Studies and it’s racist roots.