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Climate change set to boost Mexican immigration to the US, says study

A reduction in crop yields caused by climate change could mean up to 6.7 million additional Mexicans will emigrate to the United States by 2080, says a study by Princeton University researchers.

A steel US/Mexico border fence stands east of Tijuana. A new study shows climate-change-induced crop failures could drive millions of Mexican farmers across the border.

Don Bartletti/Los Angeles Times/MCT/Newscom/File

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As if joblessness and crime weren’t enough to trigger Mexican migration to the United States, a new study shows climate change could drive millions of Mexican farmers across the border.

A reduction in crop yields caused by global warming could mean up to 6.7 million additional Mexicans will emigrate to the United States by 2080, says a study by Princeton University researchers.

The authors say that a 10 percent decline in agricultural productivity would lead two percent of the Mexican population to migrate.

IN PICTURES: The US/Mexico border

Farmers not surprised by study

Mexican farmers say they are not surprised by the statistic and have already experienced crop loss due to climate shifts. Some farming groups are asking the government to pass measures to prevent agricultural damage and mass migration.

“There is some mapping being done by the Environment Ministry of probable impacts, but if there are no solutions or alternatives implemented to protect the population, people will emigrate,” says Ivan Polanco of the National Association of Farmer Commercial Enterprises.

A climate change bill endorsed by President Felipe Calderón's party and currently before Congress could pressure elected officials to take measures to limit the impact of global warming. But Mr. Polanco believes the government needs to do more to enforce such environmental laws before they can have a true impact.

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