Trump’s Border Wall Will Cause Major Environmental Damage, New Calculations Show

Published January 27, 2017
Updated March 25, 2018
Published January 27, 2017
Updated March 25, 2018

Constructing a 1,000-mile concrete wall would release almost 2 million tons of carbon dioxide and cut off animal migration routes.

Border Wall Environment

John Moore/Getty ImagesA digger removes sand drifts from the Mexican side of the U.S.-Mexico border fence in California. Without daily removal of the sand, the dunes would cover the fence and undocumented immigrants and smugglers could simply walk over it.

Bloomberg New Energy Finance has calculated that construction of President Donald Trump’s border wall with Mexico may release up to 1.9 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, accelerating the effects of global climate change.

Furthermore, the new calculations suggest that the wall would also affect migration routes of animals living in the area, preventing them from heading north or south depending on the seasonal weather.

To reach the 1.9 million tons of carbon dioxide figure, Bloomberg New Energy Finance assumed that Trump would construct the wall with steel-reinforced concrete and that it would be 1,000 miles long, 35 feet high, and 18 inches thick.

“In terms of climate adaptation, building a border wall is an act of self-sabotage,” Dan Millis, of the Sierra Club’s Borderlands project, told ClimateWire. “And the reason I say that is we’re already seeing wildlife migrations blocked with the current walls and fences that have already been built. We have hundreds of these walls that were built without dozens of environmental protections.”

“The embodied energy in thousands and thousands of miles of a wall is insane and useless in so many ways,” added Bryan Lee, the Place + Civic Design Director for the Arts Council New Orleans.

Ultimately, according to Millis, despite the financial cost and environmental damage of building the wall, it may not even fulfill its purpose.

“People have already traveled hundreds, if not thousands, of miles by the time they get to the border,” Millis told Bloomberg. “They are not going to look at a wall and turn around. They are going to go find a ladder or a rope.”

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