Scientific American: Trump Mexican Border Wall will be a "Climate Mistake"

vindolanda hadrians wall

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Scientific American thinks construction of President Trump’s border wall will dangerously exacerbate climate change.

Trump’s Wall Could Cause Serious Environmental Damage

The effects of building a massive concrete wall range from increased emissions to blocked wildlife migration routes.

And climate activists say that President Trump’s border wall with Mexico and other efforts to keep people out represent a backward effort to stem a tide of migration that would be better addressed at its source: in places where climate impacts are already happening.

Trump, though, had one response yesterday, as he announced an executive order that fulfills his campaign promise to build a border wall: “Beginning today, the United States of America gets back control of its borders, gets back its borders.”

Environmental activists say there’s already plenty of evidence that a border wall, beyond the existing fencing that runs along large portions of the border, would be an expensive and potentially damaging climate mistake.

“In terms of climate adaptation, building a border wall is an act of self-sabotage,” said Dan Millis, a program manager with the Sierra Club’s Borderlands project. “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.”

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SciAm. No longer either scientific or american. Lost science decades ago. Failing. Was sold to German publisher Holtzbrinck in 2008 ( Nature publisher).

“ristvan January 27, 2017 at 5:25 pm
SciAm. No longer either scientific or american. Lost science decades ago. Failing. Was sold to German publisher Holtzbrinck in 2008 ( Nature publisher).”
Possibly Trump should buy it back.

Mike McMillan

And make the Germans pay for it.


Perhaps the Holtzbrink management should fire alarmists like Erika Bolstad! It’s not her first nonsense article. See: Alaska faces 5,5 Billion $ climate damage cost 2100.
Predictions are difficult, especially those concerning the future!


“And make the Germans pay for it.” LOL, nice one.
Last time the Americains tried to make Germany “pay for it ” we ended up with Hitler.


“Last time the Americains tried to make Germany “pay for it ” we ended up with Hitler.”
& he vowed to remove people he didn’t like & to Make Germany Great Again’ ….guess what happened next


“Last time the Americains tried to make Germany “pay for it ” we ended up with H!t**r .”
& he vowed to remove people he didn’t like & to Make Germany Great Again’ ….guess what happened next

Timo Kuusela

What greens usually forget, is that A Hitler’s gang were the first environmentalists: First animal protection laws, first environment protection laws etc.Roman Emperor Hadrianus (his wall pictured)did not apparently care about small animals as much as safety, same thing with Chinese who built the Great Wall.
So, history has previous examples of necessary walls without environmental problems..

Leonard Weinstein

The US did not make Germany pay for WW1, the English and French did that despite Woodrow Wilson trying to stop this.

Alan Robertson

Such comparisons not only have become ever so tiresome, but also put those who make them in exceedingly bad light.


Leonard Weinstein
January 28, 2017 at 5:44 am
“The US did not make Germany pay for WW1, the English and French did that despite Woodrow Wilson trying to stop this.”
It was tongue in cheek, not supposed to be historically checked. Thanks for the correction,


“”he vowed to remove people he didn’t like & to Make Germany Great Again’ “”
No other civilized developed country on the face of this planet…
…would have an open border with some dangerous third world country like we do with Mexico
What Mexico has gotten away with doing to us….any other country we would be at war with them
We invaded Panama to get rid of Noriega for a lot less……..


1saveenergy: What a bunch of bunk. Must have taken at least 1 minute to find that on the internet an toss it in. I’m sooooo impressed.


At least there seems to be some new information emerging as to why Germany has not become great, and why they allow their women to be raped at will by what amounts to millions of unruly houseguests.
Behold, the modern German male:


And yes…I would say that organized drug gangs bringing in narcotics that are killing American children and adults at the rate of over 50,000 per year is reason enough to build a wall, all by itself and even if that was the only reason.
Clearly it is not the only reason.
Bloody wars have indeed been fought for far far less.


“”drug gangs bringing in narcotics””
It’s impossible that out government is not complicit…
The amount of drugs coming into our country each day would be impossible without their help


Thanks, I enjoyed that.

John Morrison

These guys are geniuses. We all know that it is hotter in Mexico. Trump should take the entire climate change budget to build the wall to slow the movement of heat into the US. This should be more than enough to build even a double wall.
While the impact may be 0.000001 degree of cooling over the next 1000 years, that easily satisfies the green criteria of cost effectiveness.

Look, the solution to the wall eco disaster is simple. Build mirrors on the south face of the wall to reflect the heat back into South America and keep the Northern Hemisphere cool. Dah. Enough said. Maybe cost an extra billion. So what. Carbon fiber can line the north face to keep it cool.

Donald Kasper Outstanding idea! +1


Hey , what an opportunity. Thousands of miles of solar panels. Capture Mexican sun shine and use it to power the US !
Great way to make the Mexicans pay and “save the planet”. Win , win.
Also an Exec Order stipulating that the solar panels must be make in US, not imported from China. Like the pipe lines.

Gary Pearse

Grey another great idea!


Remember when the Chinese built the Great Wall of China? Then the whole world burned up! Yup. It just burned to a cinder! Oh, it is still there!!! Oh no, we are doomed!


Gary: Please don’t encourage renewables. Returning to the “catch energy” policies of the 19th century is depressing.


I thought we were going to paint the Mexico side of the wall with a an ultra realistic mural depicting a horizon to horizon horde of shotgun totin’ yankee rednecks.
You know…to compliment the alligator filled moat of raw sewage and punji sticks on our side, and the glass shard imbedded mortar bed along the top.
Toss some half rotten corpses onto the razor wire projecting out on both side at various levels as well.


No doubt it. One look at the centuries of climate damage the Great Wall of China caused confirms it. GMAFB.


exactly….was my first thought too
They wouldn’t dare tell the Chinese to tear it down
But then, this is all about attacking us

Amazing. Holtzbrinck eh? All this time I thought both SciAm and Nature had been bought by Conde’ Nasty. I can tell the difference between Weird, Ars Technophile, GQ, Golf Digest, SciAm, Nature and Vogue. They all seem like pretty much the same rags with different covers to me. Maybe Advanced Publications is owned or owned by this Holtzbrinck outfit? It’s just to coincidental.

Stephen Richards

There are no greener politicians in the world than the Germans except maybe the stupid french

Stephen, the French power grid is 75% nuclear, that, in my view, isn’t stupid.


The Greens are a minority in Germany as they are in France. But because of the electoral system, which is a proportional voting system, coalitions between the parties are mostly necessary to get majorities.
Therefore it is possible that a minority of morons, which counts barely 6 % of the electorate, can hold the majority of the people on the bull nose ring! In addition, a large percentage of journalists in the media mainstream are left-greens, which scare people with climate-alarm junk! So all Politicians try to surf on the pseudo-eco-wave!
Last not least there is also the embodied disaster, A. Merkel, with her silly “Energiewende”( turn to renewable energy ), her power obsession and her moral arrogance towards the rest of Europe and the german patriots. She sqints to the Green-socialists as her potential coalition partner after the 2017 elections!
President Trump was right when he said , her politics were ruining Germany!


Take out the ‘i’.


Consider yourself paid!


Dangerous? No more than the Great Wall of China.


The great mexico wall is going to turn out to be the great mexico mistake. Far cheaper and effective to remove the incentives. No drug war no handouts no illegal immigration.
On it’s own the wall won’t do a thing that a good sized ladder won’t defeat so you have to add surveillance and response. I expect a couple of sandstorms and you’ll be able to walk over some spots. Most of the area already has a natural barrier in desert.
It is hard to imagine that there wouldn’t be some type environmental damage. Large man made structures have a history of unintended consequence. The original overseas highway was affecting FL. bay. The railway crossing the flats in Utah

The comments about the great wall of china make me smile. Ok, sometimes the oldies are goodies but we’re applying a 14th century solution (and earlier) to a 21st century problem. Actually the great wall is better because it was also a highway for trade and rapid response.
People crossing the border is the symptom, not the problem.
I also agree with Ron Paul that classically walls have been built to keep the citizens in, not the other way.


Requiring that only legal, documented residents be allowed to make remittals of cash would remove some of the incentives. US residents without legal documentation would still be allowed to send goods south of the border. This would force the governments south of the border to restrict or tax these shipments of goods, thus taxing their own citizens, instead of us taxing ours with an import tariff.
Whether an actual wall is the best way to secure the border is certainly debatable. Why not build a dam or series of dams on the Rio Grande river, primarily for security reasons. It is a lot easier to patrol a lake and hard to cross a lake with ladders and tunnels. The water and electricity could be used for the benefit of peaceful residents on both sides of the border.

The most crystal meth is produced in the US!

Junk like this is why I left Scientific American decades ago. What far left drivel it has become.

Michael Jankowski

Well we could put pipes passing under the wall to allow for some wildlife migration, but we all know that pipelines increase climate change, too.


Pffft. HA HA HA ^_^

I was under the impression the entire purpose of the “wall” was to prevent wildlife migration?


Why aren’t they worried about the millions of birds that we actually know die from windmills / wind farms every year in the US alone?


Just give the wildlife fast-track visas


Mexico wall no more dangerous than the Great China Wall.


Siantific Americon . .

André van Delft

Scientifake American

Dave O.

I remember when Scientific American was “Scientific”. A long time ago.


Scientific American began as a tabloid in the 1800s. It was gussied up with “consensus” Science in the 1940s with well written and edited articles. Left wing politics has existed in the magazine probably since a Piel scion was in charge but left wing politics accelerated in the magazine since the late 1960s. It returned to tabloid status during the past 30 years.
Dan Kurt

Mark from the Midwest

When there aren’t any specifics it’s typically a false alarm. I’m not aware of any terrestrial-bound animals that have clear migratory patterns in the Southwest U.S. Coyotes will move around based on changes in the mule deer populations, but they really don’t migrate.
Anyone, enlighten me…


Mark – my thought, too. I’m not aware of any major migrations that would be affected. There are birds and butterflies that migrate across the Southern border, but… they can fly!

Crispin in Waterloo but really in Singapore

If those darned birds and butterflies are crossing the border without the appropriate visas I recommend they put up lines of wind turbines to slash them to pieces.
That’ll teach ’em.

You are basically correct; no normal land animal migrations.
There have been some wildlife that cross the border as a normal wandering of their territory or young males searching for new territory; e.g. ocelots, armadillo, peccary, deer and even jaguar.
Crossing the Rio Grande is their toughest trial.


Put in multiple border crossings where the animals could be processed and pass through (with the appropriate documentation, no criminal records or nothing to declare). This would create jobs too.

H. D. Hoese

I’m a big fan of the Big Bend of Texas, just met a somewhat relieved border patrol agent who worked there, my best friend, now diseased, hiked there for 3 decades, and went to school with biologists who worked there. Four of us from Louisiana had great days there with the contrast and the now somewhat disappearing isolation, even with some cell phone service.
According to Schmidly’s “Mammals of Trans-Pecos Texas” there only seem to be migrations in the transient sense, and he talks mostly about Pleistocene changes. It is however, a desert/mountain area continuous with Mexico. Black Bears appeared not too many years ago in the park said to be from Mexico and there are tropical animals like jaguars and ocelots that don’t recognize borders. Biologists might rightly expect some isolation of small edge of range populations. If you are going to play the hypothetical game it works both ways as grizzlies, occurring there long ago, might be stopped going south someday. For some time there has been a project push for continuous habitat without barriers. It is a fallacy to argue that this means a physical fence the whole length and the article seems based on “activists and architects.” The border and inland habitat is already mostly a barrier where many illegal immigrants have been enticed to their death. Crossing a lot of the Rio Grande requires serious mountaineering skills.
Decades ago, about the time Scientific American began to lose their credibility, I predicted that there would be a backlash against radical and unproven (able?) environmental claims which would damage their agenda and hurt the environment. No doubt there will be effects and there are serious scientists to predict and observe them. There are clear cases of habitat damage from the human migrations so a cost/benefit would seem in order. Should take a couple of weeks, at least for the essentials and if you leave out the hypotheticals.


Simmental cattle were brought into Texas after the Department of Agriculture refused an import licence. The rancher had a spread on the border with Mexico, so imported the cattle to Mexico and then brought them over the Rio Grande onto his ranch.


Out of respect, I think the mods. should edit you comment…re your deceased friend.
Unless you mean to say what you said.

H. D. Hoese

Glad for good editing, he was diseased, then died many years ago. Has a brick at the Museum of the Big Bend with a cigar and a crane on it.

Peter Fournier

I recently saw a report that jaguars were moving from Mexico into the mountains in the southwestern US. Only a few individuals so far. I sort of like the idea of jaguars establishing themselves in the southwest over time. Of course Mexico could just give the US a bunch as a partial payment for the wall? Maybe the WWF could donate $100 million to the US treasury for each one? Surely preserving biodiversity makes this worth while from the environmentalism point of view? Jaguars and a border … a good deal!

Pablo an ex Pat

Great deal as they are nice cars too !

You better have a mechanic for a boyfriend.


My problem is that they mention some species will suffer, like you say – unspecified, but are they not talking about climate change?
My problem is if its a climate changre mistake, where is the CO2 coming from?

Well, they did say a wall made of concrete. That much cement will expel a great deal of CO2. Not that I think that’s a problem, mind you. But it would be a CO2 source.

CO2 source or sink? there’s some evidence to suggests concrete can absorb CO2 and not just a small amount either – not something many of the scientifically illiterate greens know.


Hydrated lime naturally turns back into calcium carbonate by reacting with carbon dioxide in the air, the entire process being called the lime cycle.

Gary Pearse

Please! Calcining cement emits CO2 but this CO2 is reunited with the cement in concrete over the life of the concrete structure (along with strengthening the concrete) . The fuel for the kiln, of course is another matter. Ditto for lime used in plasters, mortars, etc. I’ve been trying to correct this AGW fake news about cement for a long time at WUWT and this is a site receptive to real science.


Wind turbines take millions of tons of concrete, yet that’s no problem.


What about the butterflies, The poor monarchs will have to fly higher over the wall and will drop from exhaustion on the other side.

Gloateus Maximus

Monarchs have been observed at 11,000 feet:


. . . what about the 364 human migration? Doesn’t it increase during leap years?

Bob Svoboda

Tortoises! I live in greater Houston and in a field off the Grand Parkway I’ve noticed a tortoise living in a “fenced” area with a herd of goats. He is UNABLE to migrate south as the temperatures drop here in the winter (it gets into the 30s!) and there is no doubt that the atmosphere over this pasture is WARMER! (Or cooler depending on the evidence required to advance my agenda.)


There are millions migrating across into California, Arizona, NM and Texas from Mexico.


Human, that is.


If it’s a climate mistake or an environmental mistake then the supporters of the far left should have been proactive years ago and seen the need for more disciplined measures that are taking place now.
Think of all the rattlesnakes and armadillos that have been disturbed by unchecked immigration.

Jimmy Haigh

That made me guffaw.


No more reindeer migrations from Mexico to the North Pole in the fall, which means no one to pull Santa’s sleigh, which means no more Christmas. Trump is the Grinch.


(yer a mean one, mister trump)…


The sell-out Grinch gave the presents back. It follows “Grinch Trump” will find a way to get those magical reindeer to the North Pole, though magical reindeer should not need help. Or design a new delivery system involving drones and internet delivery. Either way…..


This reminds me of little kids playing let’s pretend. Let’s pretend we are real experts and have a clue about what we’re talking about.

He who knows, does not speak. He who speaks, does not know. Lao Tse

The arrogance of these idiots is just breath taking.


Wow. I read the article and I’m amazed that ‘San Francisco-based Architects, Designers and Planners for Social Responsibility’ are going to take a stand because in their opinion it’s….bad. How do I subscribe to this amazing science loaded magazine? I want to send them a letter and suggest that instead of concrete we use decommissioned wind turbines and solar panels to build the wall. We can fill in the holes with all of the dead birds and bats. Waste not want not.


I really like your comment, excellent.

Gary Pearse

Leave the windmills turning and use the fence for a powerline. Oops, perhaps I need a trigger word but I don’t know how to do this! Er.. sarc?


Preventing wildlife migration IS THE POINT!

I knew if I browsed far enough down in the comments I’d find someone that had already said exactly what I was gonna say… 😉

I didn’t read far enough…


Too right mate.
All fences should be demolished so the world’s wildlife can venture wherever/whenever.
However, the animals need to be vetted – to ensure they are not carrying contraband “climate” with them.


We humans are animals as well. If your term “vetted” is a euphemism for “neutered” then contraband “climate” could be considered a euphemism for the ability to have offspring. Which might be considered too high a price to pay for admission into the USA?


Perry: You’d have to ask those trying to get in that question.


Let’s cut to the chase. What “wildlife migrations” are they supposedly talking about?

Carbon BIgfoot

Homo Beanerous of course.

I say stock the Rio Grande with Piranhas and save a lot of money.

And stock as many jaguars as possible in the mountains where the fence isn’t needed.

Gary Pearse

Then there is the old saw: “Support wildlife. Throw an all night party!”

Stephen Greene

Nice Scientific Standards for Scientific American. Now an activist publication.


It’s even worse than I thought! Wait is that a big crack in the sky! Run! Oh the humanity!


In the olden times if you faced the anger of The Lord you were transformed into a pillar of salt. Now there is only Trump. Much to do and so little time. The professional “victim” class is about to become unemployed by taxpayer decree. I cannot see them migrating to Mexico willingly. Encouragement may be required.

Jim G1

It’s hard to see what’s going on when your head is wedged securely in your fundament.


That’s not a proper Mexico border “wall”, now this one maybe:


…still weighing that one out…🤔

Read your history of all the barriers that man has erected –
Hadrian’s Wall, Offas Dyke, Great wall of china, Great hedge of India, Maginot Line, Berlin Wall…..
None worked. Why would this one ?
Another waste of time, energy & resources, just to make a cheap political point.


Its nothing compared to the waste we have undertaken to make an expensive political point about climate change…..


It will work as well as the one in your back yard. When was the last time you climbed over your neighbor’s fence and went sneaking around in their backyard?


Well the Israeli fence/wall says differently:
“The numbers bear out the effectiveness of the security fence. According to Tirza, between 2000 and 2006, there were 4,000 terrorist attacks in Israel, resulting in the deaths of 1,639 Israelis. In stark contrast to those statistics, from 2007 through the present in 2015, there have only been 32 suicide-bomb attacks, and only 20 Israelis have died.”
“The barrier’s planned length is approximately 450 miles, over 80 percent of which has been built. But only 5 percent is wall, while the other 95 percent is fence. And there are a number of checkpoints along the wall where individuals can pass freely both ways, but where Israeli soldiers are able to stop suicide bombers.
Israel keeps a short space on both sides of the fence completely clear of bushes or debris, so that cameras—both normal and night vision—can maintain a clear view of the fence. Special Israeli vehicles sweep the ground twice per day on the Israeli side to maintain a clear view, and to enable Israeli patrols to find the prints of any potential attackers who make it over the barrier. Countless cameras are deployed along the fence, along with heat sensors, motion sensors, and metal detectors, which coupled with the sensors enable Israeli patrols to detect any breaches. Beyond those, underground seismic sensors are on the lookout for men digging tunnels under the wall.”


Excellent example of one that works. I don’t think the Israelis were too concerned about wildlife – and neither should we. It will survive. Funny none of these environmentalists are worried about the survival of our citizens.


Another example of a great wall that worked remarkably well was the wall that protected the city of Constantinople. For a thousand years it protected the city. It failed only twice in that thousand years, once through treachery and in the end when faced with simply overwhelming force.


Study history with the right lense, and breathing doesn’t work ; )

Mike Croft

Well the Great Wall of China was built just a few centuries before the birth of Christ and at last count in 2000 years not one Mexican or Central or South American has made it over. How can you say the walls don’t work?

Crispin in Waterloo but really in Singapore

The Berlin Wall was very effective. At a cost.


One to keep people in and the other to keep people out…..


This one is not designed to prevent modern armies from crossing. It is designed for individual people armed at most with small guns. Berlin wall was extremely efficient by the way.


Define “worked.” I think you’ll find that some of those “worked” as designed. The Maginot Line worked well enough that the Germans had to go around it. The Berlin wall kept 99+% of the East Berliners out of West Berlin.

Actually, Hadrian’s Wall worked when it was intact and the garrisons were still manning it. Great Wall, yup – same thing. Maginot Line, if I recall it was bypassed – so it sorta worked. Berlin Wall? Pretty sure that worked all too effectively until the Soviet Union collapsed. Not so sure you’ve made your point.


Maybe I should have said –
None worked …IN THE LONG TERM … Why would this one ?
Another waste of time, energy & resources, just to make …AN EXPENCIVE… political point.”
The only barrier that has ever slowed/stopped migration (animal, human, plant, virus) is cold – snow & ice.
How about getting the warmists/Sierra Club to pay for an Ice wall (solar powered ) they could fit diesel powered lamps to the panels so they work at night.


Li Zicheng was a Chinese rebel leader who overthrew the Ming dynasty in 1644 & briefly ruled over China. He executed thirty-eight members of the household of Ming Chinese general Wu Sangui. Wu opened a gate in the Great Wall at Shanhai Pass on 27th May 1644, in order to let Manchu/Qing forces into China. Li’s army was defeated the same day by the combined forces of Wu Sangui and the Manchus, Li fled from Beijing & was dead the following year.
Walls work when the defenders have no reason to admit the outsiders.

1saveenergy I have friend with a T Ford that’s been continuously registered since it was built, yet the guy over the road has been through 2 cars in 10 years. They would have continued to work too had they been maintained as the Ford has. Nothing survives without maintenance.

Bryan A

The only reason that the ice wall worked was the simple fact that, on the other side was even more ice. And beyond that, more ice, thousand of miles of ice.

Bryan A

Oh, and it was a mile high

I’ve always thought the long term solution is significantly reducing corruption in the Mexican government, establishing the rule of law, providing a safe and level playing field for entrepreneurship, and letting the natural hard work and achievements of the Mexican people solve their economic problems. If I had the choice of living and working in Mexico with high wage and low taxes (with the same or better standard of living) versus – say – Minneapolis, I’d pick Mexico every time. I’d be willing to bet the Mexicans would feel that way too. I’d also be willing to bet that, by the time they got to that point, they’d be discussing building a southern border wall (if it didn’t exist already).

Jaakko Kateenkorva

“Read your history of all the barriers that man has erected –
Hadrian’s Wall, Offas Dyke, Great wall of china, Great hedge of India, Maginot Line, Berlin Wall…..
None worked. Why would this one ?
Another waste of time, energy & resources, just to make a cheap political point.”
That’s a far better argument than statistical atmosphere in 30 year timespan (climate).


No one working? The Great Wall of China has been doing its business for centuries, or we might have in China today, perhaps, Mongols or Tartars. So we had them in Europe. The limes between the Roman Empire and Germania as well. There a slow adjustment on both sides of the limes began, one culture learned from the other in the slow way and drove despite limes trade. And if Rome had not collapsed because of inbreeding and degeneration, the Limes itself would have continued to work. The walls alone can not be helped, a society must also be strong, protect itself against conspicuous peoples, but also through walls.


Hans- Georg,
The Roman Empire in the West fell because of race change.. This chapter is specific.
Scroll down to read all the chapters of “The people that history forgot”.


” And if Rome had not collapsed because of inbreeding and degeneration”
The Roman Empire had & used a very large gene pool, so the general population was OK in that area.
There was a fair bit of inbreeding in the ruling classes ( as we still see today) & that is well recorded.
Many reasons for ‘The decline & fall of the Roman Empire’, far to many to list here, but a few to wet your whistle are –
– Lead poisoning copper cookware was often lined with lead the same way we now line them with tin or teflon. Lead was in everything (Water, Food, Wine, Cosmetics), ‘lead’ to
-‘Climate Change’ As the Roman Warm Period drew to a close, increased pressure from the northern tribes on long supply lines & lower crop yields coinciding with political infighting meant they took their eye/s off the ball.


Typo Should read –
Lead was in everything (Water, Food, Wine, Cosmetics), that ‘lead’ to the rich having many mental problems
high levels of lead have been found in late Roman skeletons See-
Nriagu, Jerome O. Lead and lead poisoning in antiquity. New York: Wiley, 1983.
Nriagu, J.O. “Saturnine Gout Among Roman Aristocrats.” New England Journal of Medicine 308, no. 11 (1983): 660–663.
There is some discussion concerning diagensis and lead content in Roman skeletons.
De Muynck, D., C. Cloquet, E. Smits, F.A. de Wolff, G. Quitté, L. Moens, and F. Vanhaecke. “Lead Isotopic Analysis of Infant Bone Tissue Dating from the Roman Era via Multicollector ICP–mass Spectrometry.” Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry 390, no. 2 (2008): 477–486.


Don’t really agree with that, energy saver. Okay, the Maginot Line was outflanked, but the Berlin Wall worked all too well, and the Great Wall of China and Hadrian’s Wall worked well enough until the Societies that built them decayed and degenerated. Offa’s Dyke was probably not a fortified wall, rather a treaty line, and the Great Hedge of India might have worked fine if they’d planted Berberis! All depends upon the political will behind the structure.


Exactly right Mothcatcher. The walls cited were defensive positions that were meant to be backed by an army. Roman troops were permanently posted all along Hadrian’s Wall. Hadrian’s Wall worked until the Roman troops withdrew. Chinese troops were posted all along the Great Wall. It wasn’t the walls that failed. The societies that built the walls crumbled and then the armies disappeared. Even today walls work well to keep poorly armed people in or out – witness the effectiveness of the Berlin Wall or the walls the Israelis built to keep out terrorists.

I believe it shouldn’t be called a wall, the design should be an integral border barrier system, with a flexible design intended to stop 95 % of illegal inmigrants and drug smugglers. This is needed to secure the boundary or perimeter. Once the boundary is secured the next step is to either deport or issue work or student visas to the illegal aliens already within the country.
Regularizing the illegal alien status now, as has been proposed, is a non starter because it will encourage more illegals to pour through the border.
I’m a (legal) inmigrant, and I think it’s useful for the USA to allow some inmigration, but it does have to be regulated, and there’s absolutely no reason to have it focused on one country or region merely because they can walk in. I like the Canadian points system.
Scientific American is no longer a science publication, it’s a left wing activist piece of garbage. Discussing its content is only useful in a political context.

No one, and I mean no one, I know of in conservative politics has now or ever said there should be no immigration. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. We’re pointing at the long line of people that have begun the legal process that are forced to wait years to even begin the task of becoming new Americans. We’re outraged that, by breaking the law, we’re going to reward them for jumping the queue. All of Central and South America has far exceeded any reasonable quota for “immigration”. I’m for opening the flood gates for Europeans, Eastern Europeans, and Asians to begin their next new chapter of building – and defining – the American dream. South and Central American and the Middle East – not so much.


If one defines “works” as 100% successful, then no. Actually, the Berlin wall worked until we foolishly tore it down and let the communists cross over and allow invaders in to rape and pillage their populations on both sides of the wall. Until then, I’d say it worked. West Germany wasn’t mess.
Anyway, if we’re going with 100%, then global warming has to get pitched because it’s not 100% accurate.
Believing anything is 100% is a problem. Oh, and if you’re the one raped and beaten by the monsters crossing your border, it’s not “cheap politcal point”. Of course, you may live in a gated community like Zuckerberg and not care, right?


So according to Scientific American, walls adversely affect climate change. Maybe because of this all walls should be deamed illegal and must be removed immediately. Those who believe in the Sceintific American article should have nothing to do with any sort of wall including owning walls, touching walls, or even entering any building or structure that includes any wall of any sort. What is the climate sensivity of a square foot of wall? Do walls have a cooling or a warming effect? How about roofs, floors, or fenses? Do they also adversely affect climate change?


Zuckerberg and other billionaires who lecture us all the time about everything, LOVE WALLS and some have been forced to stop building huge walls in Hawaii and California, etc.


The roof of my home is supported by four walls… and these definitely keep out the wildlife (except for the occasional mouse or earwhig). I suppose I must tear down these walls as well, but then climate change will affect our household… global cooling for six months, then global warming for another six… what to do?


Enviros prefer the “little people” live in caves and hunt berries. So,yeah, the house goes.


We will all have to learn to live outside like wild animals for fear that to do otherwise might adversly affect global climate. What about the climate efficts of bird nests and spider webs and what to do about it? Maybe our cloths also adversly affect global climate.

Steve Case

How much will Trump’s wall cost and how much has been spent on Climate Change research?


I don’t think the cost of building it will come anywhere near what it costs us in processing, assistance, crime, property damages, and lives lost.


Thats just a hypothesis with a bit of belief thrown in;
flesh it out with actual facts & figures. only then can you do a cost benefit analysis.


Um, no, it’s not. You can go to the people who’ve done the research state by state what illegal immigration is costing us. In billions of dollars.
Or you can go to the GAO site – that one is for incarcerations alone:

Ive been a project engineer and managed teams which included project managers. So I’m fairly familiar with the process that would be used by a large company to evaluate and optimize a project like this, which conceptually would cost over $10 billion USD.
The process would start with a concept, which requires a thorough survey of the existing barriers, their failings, and the community input regarding visual and other impacts. A parallel effort would be needed to map the gaps, the illegal entry flows, and to understand the current flow of illegals entering by air, boat, road vehicles, etc. Once this is available a set of conceptual plans are prepared, and an initial cost estimate is done. At that point it’s important to establish a cost benefit ratio for each segment to be built (I’ve seen some locations on the Texas border that are no brainers).
I’m not going to write you a manual, and also realize the USA government is famous for carrying out shitty projects because politicians are lousy managers. But it’s clear to me there is a whole world of knowledge about how to do this, and the media, politicians, Trump, and most people don’t have any idea of how this can be done. To them it’s like building a moon rocket.

Gary Pearse

energysaver. Some cost benefits are so obvious we make reliable decisions on them as individuals many times a day. Take a look at the cost of DEA and other agencies dealing with the fallout, the social welfare costs, municipal costs…. now subtract the benefits!
Why is it that someone who would require such ‘exacting standards’ for this topic would, with no concrete evidence presented, give a pass to CAGW hysteria based on ‘might’ , ‘could’ happen in a hundred years! Selective precicision on a topic like illegal immigration is very revealing of your world view and your (political) science.


“the media, politicians, Trump, and most people don’t have any idea of how this can be done.”
I wouldn’t put Trump in this category as he is just managing the process and will probably bring in experts as advisers, say maybe the Israeli wall constructors.


Fernando, I must repectfully disagree: Trump know EXACTLY how to do this. You hire one or more competent contruction firms, and write them a check. Its not even all that hard…


Gary Pearse
January 28, 2017 at 7:41 am
you say
“Why is it that someone who would require such ‘exacting standards’ for this topic would, with no concrete evidence presented, give a pass to CAGW hysteria based on ‘might’ , ‘could’ happen in a hundred years! Selective precicision on a topic like illegal immigration is very revealing of your world view and your (political) science”
I have to ask – from what I posted, why would you assume that I “give a pass to CAGW hysteria” ?
It doesn’t say much for your comprehension skills.

JJM Gommers

The mexicans are doing a downpayment already. The pesos went down to 21 .

Neil Jordan

“The effects of building a massive concrete wall range from increased emissions to blocked wildlife migration routes.”
But not “carbon” emissions from Portland cement manufacture. Most of the carbon dioxide released from cement production is taken back into the concrete when the cement hydrates.
“Irvine, Calif. – Cement manufacturing is among the most carbon-intensive industrial processes, but an international team of researchers has found that over time, the widely used building material reabsorbs much of the CO2 emitted when it was made.”
The WUWT article was published last November. Actually, the hydration reaction for concrete setting and carbonation was worked out decades ago. Here is the word from the Portland Cement Association:
To gain the nihil obstat and imprimatur, there is the obligatory genuflection to UN IPCC at the end.

Crispin in Waterloo but really in Singapore

The sink is not nearly as large as the production because the raw material is quite different from the final one.
Concrete is highly CO2 ‘positive’. So what? The net benefits are enormous.
Steel reinforcing bars are also CO2 positive, big time. Net benefits? Enormous.
Storm => Teacup

Gary Pearse

Neil, many decades indeed, I learned this as an engineering student in the 1950s.The issue wasn’t CAGW then, simply that concrete gains strength throughout it’s lifetime by this reaction. Plasters and mortars, too.


When Martin Gardner (Mathematical Games) left, they lost me. That was about the time they started drifting off the reservation of real science.


Yeah, Martin Gardner was the reason I read Scientific American back in the day.

Mike McMillan


I gave up when Martin Gardner went mad and drew a version of the Laffer Curve that was just a squiggle, and then pretended that his squiggle was an economic refutation of Reagan’s supply side hypothesis. Or was it his demand side hypothesis? Long time ago, but Gardner was so far off base that it undermined the whole veracity (?) of SA.


What about the Great Wall of China then. Shouldn’t that be torn down if walls are bad. And how about Hadrians wall, I guess that will have to go as well.

Neil Jordan

No. Keep the Wall. According to a British colleague from south of Hadrian’s Wall, the wall last served its purpose in 1746, keeping the rebellious Scots at bay. This apparently prompted a verse in the British National Anthem. Details here:
My colleague noted that the Scots remain rebellious to this day, thus justifying keeping Hadrian’s Wall in good repair.

Nigel S

Hadrian’s wall isn’t on the border.
I admire the artist’s impression with the high speed train on top but won’t it mainly be an upgrading and extension of the current sections of fence?
‘This is the night mail crossing the Border,
Bringing the cheque and the postal order,
Letters for the rich, letters for the poor,
The shop at the corner, the girl next door.
Pulling up Beattock, a steady climb:
The gradient’s against her, but she’s on time.’


A gorgeous poem, with excellent photography from – I guess – the 1930s.


Your photo illustration, is it a shot of Hadrian’s Wall in Scotland? The Romans built it to keep the Highlanders out. A curious side-effect of that was it also kept the Romans out of the highlands thus insuring the safety of the Romans. Stand Fast Craigellachie!

Crispin in Waterloo but really in Singapore

Actually the Romans built the wall to keep out the Picts they concluded were uncivilisable barbarians. The Picts strolled the beaches stark naked, apparently unlike the modern civilised. They also invented nudist camps, I presume.
Can’t have that…
Without them Hannibal would not have successfully crossed the Alps and defeated the Romans so Hadrian was right!

Mike McMillan

Without the Picts?

Picts in the Alps riding elephants? Unlikely.
The wall according to some archeologists was designed more to control movement to and fro so that goods could be taxed and the chances of attacks reduced. It would have been unlikely to stop mass invasions by Picts.


Just like Britain planting the Great Hedge of India (2,500 miles ~4,000 km)to control salt & sugar taxes.


Er …… OldGuy, Hadrian’s wall is in England. The Antonine Wall is in Scotland but was a wall too far for the Romans.
But yes the photo looks like Hadrian’s effort.

R Field

Climate and Environmental Activists are saying this? So it must be true. Scientific American should publish their sources of these comments so we can pin point the origin of stupidity. These idiots need to be held accountable for spreading more junk science.

Ross King

Just being the Devil’s Advocate here…..
We in Canada, along the TransCan Hiway, thro the Rocky Mtn. parks, had so much road-kill that they fenced-off the Hi’way. Notwithstanding the fact that they installed the occasional over-bridge for migratory/transitioning wildlife (not well adopted, if I remember correctly) there is now apparently genetic evidence of the impact of such a barrier in terms of divergent evolution of more-or-less separated herds.
Just saying …..

Ross King

And, to follow up, if one views the whole topic thro’ the lens of migratory movement, are the Mexicans not trying to re-establish hereditary territory long-since lost to the land-grasping Americans?
My casual observation is that they’re well on their way to achieving that goal … too late to bolt the stable-door?
In haste to go and hide in my bunker, incognito ……


It’s part of the Coudenhove-Kalergi plan. Enhance globalization by mongrelizing humanity through migration and cross-breeding.


Where is “cognito?” Is it near aguanga?

Patrick MJD

“fthoma2014 January 27, 2017 at 8:07 pm
It’s part of the Coudenhove-Kalergi plan. Enhance globalization by mongrelizing humanity through migration and cross-breeding.”
Better than inter-breeding ancient Egyptian style.

Your information must be old. The have motion sensor cameras on the crossing and they are regularly used by ungulates/bears/wolves/Cougars and lots of other little critters. They adapted well to the overpass types. Not as well in the tunnel types But they work.

You ought to visit Langtree, Texas, so you can get a sense of what it’s like before writing a comment about “herds”. I remember sitting by the Rio Grande with my children watching the illegals wade the river and walk into the bushes. Most of them are caught eventually, but I don’t recall seeing any herds in the area, other than domestic cattle. I suppose there’s deer and coyotes crossing back and forth, but I wouldn’t worry if somehow Mexican deer started looking a bit more Mexican or whatever.

Gary Pearse

Don’t take biologists’words without a dose of salt. The discipline is not as bad as social science in that it has science in it but it has been corrupted in the same way by “progressive” justification of means by the planned ends. Some, like Jim Steele, held firmly on to ethical objective standards. For most, Paul Ehrlich is the poster boy.

Monna Manhas

On the TransCanada Highway through Banff National Park, there are 44 wildlife crossing structures (6 overpasses and 38 underpasses) and 82 km (51 miles) of highway fencing. That’s about 1 crossing every 2 km, and they are well-used by wildlife. Even some birds use the crossings, which are designed to look and feel natural. It’s certainly better than roadkill, not to mention that it’s safer for the humans too.

Gary Pearse

Don’t take biologists’words without a dose of salt. The discipline is not as bad as social science in that it has science in it but it has been corrupted in the same way by “progressive” justification of means by the planned ends. Some, like Jim Steele, held firmly on to ethical objective standards. For most, Paul Ehrlich is the poster boy. Although those under 50 may not know they were brainwashed in university.


Let’s look on the bright side climate alarmists, the more illegal aliens America deports the lower our carbon emissions will be and since most of the countries these people come from have much lower standards of living their personal carbon emissions will be greatly reduced so it’s a win-win in the fight against man made global warming.

Larry Hamlin

I am absolutely sure that once President Trump is informed that climate alarmists are claiming that building a wall will impact the climate he will abandon the wall – yep absolutely sure.
What a bunch of baloney.

I wonder what they think a city looks like to migratory wildlife? Are all the acres and acres of buildings not in effect, a wall? How about highways? Railroads? Even farmland looks like a wall to a lot of wildlife (though just like a buffet to other wildlife). And what, pray tell, do they think a field of solar panels or two upon row of windmills looks like to wildlife?
If we were going to be governed by what walls do to wildlife, we’have no cities, no long distance transportation, and no food.

Oh, and my understanding has always been that most of the border with Mexico is the Rio Grande. Frankly, that’s pretty problematic in terms of building a wall or even a fence. But is there a lot of wildlife (other than what can fly over both a river and a fence) that migrates across the Rio Grande?
(Yes, that’s a serious question)

Power Grab

And what of the Trans Texas Corridor scheme? That would have prevented even farmers/ranchers from moving their machinery/cattle from one of their fields on one side to another of their fields on the other side. I wonder if anyone raised any alarm about animal migration in that case?


Coyotes and other animals have adapted wonderfully to suburbia homes in the southwest. They love eating dogs, for example. Deer populations in suburbs and cities in the Northeast are now higher in some places than in the countryside where I live. No hunters in those places, lots of roads and barriers and fences but the deer just hop right over these.


Takes at least a 9 ft fence to stop mule deer. I had an 8 ft but they jumped over that flat-footed (they had incentive—I was after them). At 9 feet, so far, so good. I may need to go to 10 ft if they figure out how to clear the current one. Out-rigging also slows them down—a fence with a second one or two wires 3 feet out from the first. Makes them jump both up and over at two heights. That’s worked for about two years now. Keeping deer out is an expensive proposition. A nine foot fence is not cheap. Plus, you have to maintain the fence because one opening and they never forget.
These deer are hunted (by me and others) but the allowed number of permits is lower and bucks only now. People have no idea what damage deer do. They just see Walt Disney (who lied about everything wildlife). It’s very scary. (Note: I was here first—the deer are the interlopers.)
If the border wall is not ten feet or more, the deer may not care, assuming any are actually migrating.

The solution is to build this much shorter wall. We’ll also get the Baja which should pay for it.

Of course, you’d want to bring water to the Baja. The Columbia River has an outflow of 2 million gallons per second. US consumption is 1,000 gallons per person per day. So it could supply 170 million people.

BTW, the aqueduct could generate $60 billion/yr in water bills to pay off the construction loans (hey, China has lots of money) assuming $15/month/person (household average water bill in the US is $30/month) and assuming non-residential users pay an equal amount per person (they actually use 90% of the water but at a tenth the rate). If this is a trillion dollar project, it could be paid off with interest in 20 years. Ain’t statistics grand?



Thanks for the reminder.


Hey, can I insert images?
[Not that way, just put the URL in without brackets or tags -mod]

David Chapman



Maybe they should just mine the border then, and to depth that stops them from digging tunnels as well.


That would be a good idea except for those damn humanitarians.

Possibly Trumps wall will need some catflaps…


Cats climb. 🙂


Beyond belief but not surprised right. I had a brilliant personal moment when I stopped debating the Left and started treating them with contempt. Rushing to see my hard left older brother in 1989 after the wall came down in the country of our birth I was prepared for a tiny bit of crow eating. Instead he looked out over the Pacific and said quietly into the distance “and that is why I believe the government should control the economy” I almost tumbled off the balcony to my demise. I left his home completely gob smacked and free of the belief that he was intelligent.
We have said it many times… AGW has become a cult with these folks. It hasn’t been about science in forever. Jim Jones would have loved this stuff.

Never give up your brother…


Not to worry. Have not given him up just not looking up to him as I once did. Today he lives high in the mountains hurling down t hunderbolts mainly about climate change on the great unwashed. Of which I am happy to be one.


So Madonna’s unconditional love for the lost will work? People make choices. They have to live by them. I will not bail out stupid people, whether I share their DNA or not.

So concerned about wildlife, except when it’s for Cuisinart windmills. Hypocrites.


Further proof that Global Warming is used as a vehicle for every cause the radical left has.
Controlling illegal immigration makes climate change worse.
This one is a keeper, just like Feminist Glaciology.
Whenever someone on the left complains about “bringing politics into science”, slap them in the face with this.


TonyL January 27, 2017 “Controlling illegal immigration makes climate change worse. Whenever someone on the left complains about “bringing politics into science”, slap them in the face with this.”
As if any liberal would actually hear and understand this message


Politics entered science when super politician for life Al Gore started creating propaganda for the cause.

Johann Wundersamer
Nigel S

A popular additive, improves performance and cuts down heat of hydration that can lead to cracking in large pours. The Romans had the right idea with pozzolan, probably some in Hadrian’s wall.


Good fences (or walls) make for good neighbors. And in this case, the taller the fence (or wall) the better the relationship between the US and Mexico will be.


That line in the poem is intended as irony.


It missed it’s mark then.

It’ll be carbon neutral after you factor in the fact Air Force 1 won’t be jetting off to a climate change summit every other weekend.

I remember when the Governor of Colorado put up a snow fence along the continental divide, his theory was to provide more snowpack on the eastern side for water, etc. I think it was gov, Love…
This is the only thing I could find – Ref:


What mass animal migration?
Buffalo? Caribou? Polar Bears? Elk? Reindeer?
I don’t think so..
The ONLY animal invasion that will be thwarted by The Wall is of the illegal alien human variety..


The Great Wall of China is often termed “a fantastic architectural and engineering wonder”. It is a work of art and a global tourist attraction.
The Great Wall of Mexico (since they are paying for most of it we should be gracious enough to name it after them) should match the majesty of the great wall on the other side of the world. I suggest that the existing 1% for art, from all federal projects, be diverted to the wall project; then call the Great Wall of Mexico an artistic and architectural wonder.
Over time finish out the entire wall as “walkable”, and even build it through the rough terrain (similar to the China version). The tourist walkers could then observe the many wildlife migrations in person, without disturbing said wildlife. The route from the Pacific to the Gulf of Mexico could also be ADA accessable.
Wall sponsorships (private or commercial) can be peddled at $5,000 per foot. Tower sponsorships (similar to the China wall “towers”) can be had for $200,000 (plus annual retainer).
We got art, we got eco-tourism, we got “walkable”, wonderful architecture, handicapped friendly, income generation, reality tv races from coast to gulf. We got it all.


If border walls create “increased emissions,” then the Great Wall of China must produce an awfully large amount. How come environmentalists don’t tell China: “Tear down this wall!”

“Tower sponsorships (similar to the China wall “towers”) can be had for $200,000 (plus annual retainer).”
‘Trump Towers’…


“The tourist walkers could then observe the many wildlife migrations in person, without disturbing said wildlife.”
“The tourist walkers could then observe the many wildlife migrations in person, and buy permits to throw wet sponges, or something, at them.”
Better – and more income . . ..


Just when you think they’ve run out of CAGW claims…….

King of Cool

Perhaps DJT should call it a pest-exclusion wall. Australia has the longest fence in the world stretching over 2000 miles to keep rabbits, emus and other pests out of the pastoral areas of Western Australia since 1907. Google rabbit proof fence. I have not seen a word on it that it affects climate in that time. But you could get some funds to research the issue if you applied.

J Wurts

BTW, A superb movie, Rabbit-Proof Fence (2002)


Actually it does a great job of keeping dingos and rabbits on one side from mixing with dingos and rabbits on the other side.
(And no , dingos are NOT native to Australia, they are an imported species that came with the first migrants about 60-70 thousand years ago)


Dabbits and ringos?

Johann Wundersamer

Can someone explain why young guys leave scool to migrate north when there’s already enough VW, Audi, Ford suppliers and Final assembly plants in Mexico.
Lack of local telenovelas?

Chuck L

The decline and fall of SciAm to the extent that it is barely distinguishable from Mad Magazine is very sad. I am old enough to remember when it was a serious publication and with my fellow nerdy friends, looked forward to reading it when it came in the mail

Martin A

SciAm, Mad Magazine. I read them both avidly as an adolescent.

Darrell Demick (home)

Chuck L., how dare you insult a quality publication like Mad Magazine by comparing it to Scientific American!!!!
The magazine that brought us:
The Towering Sterno
Star Blech!
Spy vs. Spy, and on the very rare occasion, Spy vs. Spy vs. Spy


Don’t forget it brought us ‘What Me Worry’!


Trump just wants to keep good climate in and bad climate out. Watt’s Wrong With That?™