By Calvin Palmer
Republican global warming skeptics in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and California may find themselves in something of dilemma following the release today of a study that says global warming could drive millions more Mexicans into the United States in search of work by 2080 due to diminishing crop yields in Mexico.
These Palinesque Republicans detest illegal Mexicans about as much as they despise Al Gore but may now have to perform a U-turn on the issue of global warming and welcome those efforts to reduce the threat it poses.
In this particular Republican mind-set, illegal Mexicans are all members of drug cartels. In fact, all Mexicans are members of violent drug cartels. Those who do yard work, wait on tables or work as roofing contractors only to do so to earn extra cash to put their children through college.
The money from drugs has to pay for the luxury apartments, fast cars, arsenal of weapons that any self-respecting cartel member has to have. Toiling in the hot sun doing manual labor helps to give Cesar and Juanita the education they themselves never had.
The study claims climate change will induce 1.4 to 6.7 million adult Mexicans (or two percent to 10 percent of the current population aged 15-65 years) to emigrate as a result of declines in agricultural productivity.
Researchers led by Michael Oppenheimer of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University estimated the sensitivity of migration to climate change and predicted the number of Mexicans who would migrate under a range of different climate and crop yield scenarios.
The worst-case scenario would occur if temperatures were to rise by one to three degrees Celsius (1.8 to 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2080, if farming methods had not been adapted to cope with global warming and if higher levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide had not spurred plant growth. All three factors would result in crop yields in Mexico falling by 39 to 48 percent.
“In that case, the increase in Mexico’s emigration as a share of population would be between 7.8 percent and 9.6 percent,” said the study, which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
“Using today’s population of 70 million as the base for the age 15-65 year population in Mexico, this percentage increase corresponds to an additional 5.5 to 6.7 million emigrants,” it said.
The study focused on Mexico because it is “one of the biggest migrant-source countries, because there exists state-level data on emigration, and because it has undergone diverse degrees of climate variability across regions”.
Similar doom-laden prophecies in the 1960s claimed that the world would not be able to feed itself because of the rapid increase in its population. Sadly for those soothsayers, mass starvation never came about on the scale envisaged because of advances in agriculture and new strains of crops.
The stark analysis of this study contains a great many “ifs”. And projecting 70 years into the future is a futile exercise. Who knows what technological advances will have been achieved in that time?
At the time of the US Civil War were people contemplating aircraft, automobiles, refrigerators, air conditioning, television sets. I doubt it but I bet there were people advocating all kinds of doom-laden scenarios based on some facet of life that they disagreed with.
[Based on a report by the AFP.]