Immigration to the United States and World-Wide Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Article author: 
Steven A. Camarota and Leon Kolankiewicz
Article publisher: 
Center for Immigration Studies
Article date: 
3 June 2022
Article category: 
National News
Article Body: 

Originally published in 2008, this article is particularly relevant today because of Biden regime / Democrat party conflicting agendas. These are specifically:

1. Open borders, which incidentally violates Biden's oath of office to enforce America's laws, including immigration laws.

2. The Green New Deal agenda, which specifically burdens Americans with reducing fossil fuel consumption.

The findings of this study indicate that future levels of immigration will have a significant impact on efforts to reduce global CO2 emissions. Immigration to the United States significantly increases world-wide CO2 emissions because it transfers population from lower-polluting parts of the world to the United States, which is a higher-polluting country. On average immigrants increase their emissions four-fold by coming to America.

Among the findings:

  • The estimated CO2 emissions of the average immigrant (legal or illegal) in the United States are 18 percent less than those of the average native-born American.
  • However, immigrants in the United States produce an estimated four times more CO2 in the United States as they would have in their countries of origin.
  • U.S. immigrants produce an estimated 637 million metric tons of CO2 emissions annually — equal to Great Britain and Sweden combined.
  • The estimated 637 tons of CO2 U.S. immigrants produce annually is 482 million tons more than they would have produced had they remained in their home countries.
  • If the 482 million ton increase in global CO2 emissions caused by immigration to the United States were a separate country, it would rank 10th in the world in emissions.
  • The impact of immigration to the United States on global emissions is equal to approximately 5 percent of the increase in annual world-wide CO2 emissions since 1980.
  • Of the CO2 emissions caused by immigrants, 83 percent is estimated to come from legal immigrants and 17 percent from illegal immigrants.
  • Legal immigrants have a much larger impact because they have higher incomes and resulting emissions, and they are more numerous than illegal immigrants.
  • The above figures do not include the impact of children born to immigrants in the United States. If they were included, the impact would be much higher.
  • Assuming no change in U.S. immigration policy, 30 million new legal and illegal immigrants are expected to settle in the United States in the next 20 years.
  • In recent years, increases in U.S. CO2 emissions have been driven entirely by population increases as per capita emissions have stabilized.


Immigration to U.S. Increases Global Greenhouse-Gas Emission:



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