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Energy and Immigration in The Boston Globe

The IntersectionBy Sheril KirshenbaumNovember 26, 2010 8:31 PM


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Immigration is all over the news, but we're not hearing about its relationship to energy policy. Michael Webber and I have an OpEd in today's Boston Globe about how a changing climate compounded by declining oil production will drive more people over the Mexican border. We begin:

THOSE WHO think immigration pressures are bad today are in for a real shock: The combination of climate change and declining Mexican oil production — both of which will strain the personal and public treasuries in Mexico — are likely to magnify the northward pressure. The United States should come to terms with immigration now, before the issue gets intensified. Thankfully, developing good energy policy at home can help relieve immigration pressures from abroad.

We go on to consider Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex), Mexico’s state-owned petroleum company and the government’s greatest source of income. The constitution limits foreign investment in oil production, which adds a great deal of pressure now that Mexico has past peak oil.

The consequence of a sustained decline in Pemex energy production means three things: reduced income for the federal treasury, fewer high-paying jobs in the energy industry, and reduced energy exports. The first point means the government will have less money to support its programs as demand for social services rises. Concurrently, the number of energy industry jobs will decrease during a time of economic duress. These problems are compounded by declining energy exports and reduced income from global sales of Mexican oil.

Read our full article at The Boston Globe.

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