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Philip Cafaro & PFIR Take on the Sierra Club. Again.


Rebecca Poswolsky • Feb 16, 2012

Philip Cafaro is taking on the Sierra Club yet again. This time he is not only blaming the Sierra Club for its stance on “immigration-driven population,” but he is also painting immigrants as the main culprits contributing to US greenhouse gas emissions in recent years.

As the recently appointed president of Progressives for Immigration Reform (PFIR), Cafaro is known for merging anti-immigrant politics with environmental conservation and false notions around so-called environmental sustainability. He has also written for many Tanton Network groups, including Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) and NumbersUSA.

Cafaro is a professor at Colorado State University where teaches environmental ethics.  That’s right, “ethics.”  His close alignment with the anti-immigrant movement and reductionist politics should not be regarded as a simple concern, as his completely ridiculous claims are solely backed by other anti-immigrant groups and reports. Nothing ethical here.

For example, in 2010, Cafaro wrote a blog for CIS, titled “Oil Spills and Immigration Policy,” that addresses what he believed was the real cause of the oil spill.  Cafaro wrote:

“Population makes a difference – and immigration levels make a difference to our overall population [….] In the long-term, regarding efforts to create a sustainable society, these demographic trends loom a lot larger than whether or not BP or Halliburton made some greedy, foolish decisions to cut corners in the Gulf.”

Such accusations are not only offensive to real environmentalists who attempted to hold BP responsible and engage with communities in order to respond effectively to the disaster, they are just plain way off-the-mark.

Similarly last week in his most recent blog post, “Sierra Club says, ‘think globally, don’t act locally’,” he wrote:

“In recent years, most growth in US greenhouse gas emissions has come from immigration-driven population growth. But you’d never know it from listening to the leaders of the Sierra Club.”

And there you have it.  The above quote from Cafaro even links to a 2008 piece, “Immigration to the United States and World-Wide Greenhouse Gas Emissions,” by CIS.  So according to Cafaro, population and immigrants are to blame not only for the BP oil spill, but also for greenhouse gas emissions as well.

While the Sierra Club recently took a positive stance in opposing the new immigration detention center proposed in Southwest Ranches, he and other anti-immigrant leaders continue to attack the Sierra Club for not upholding platforms around US population stabilization.

It’s hard to take people like Cafaro seriously. It’s almost impossible to imagine that he’s still teaching environmental ethics, as well, as his claims have as much chance to be backed by any source outside of the anti-immigrant movement as a climate denier’s claims have of being backed by actual scientists.

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