This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "How to Avoid a Climate Disaster" by Bill Gates. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.
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What are the consequences of global warming for humans? What do mosquitoes have to do with global warming?
As global temperatures rise, we’re facing increasingly greater risks, moving closer and closer to the point of no return. In addition to the planetary effects of global warming (e.g. rising sea levels, weather fluctuations), there are also indirect effects on our health.
Keep reading to learn about the effects of global warming on human health.
Health Risks of Global Warming
As the climate changes, different parts of the world will face new and worsening health risks. In discussing the effects of global warming on human health, Bill Gates notes that as the Earth warms, mosquitoes will expand into new areas bringing diseases like malaria with them, and heat stroke will become much more widespread and deadly as extreme heat and humidity worsen.
In addition to rising health risks from mosquito-borne diseases and heat stroke, climate change poses an existential threat for communities worldwide. For example, rising global sea levels have already submerged eight Pacific islands and nearly inundated two more. Estimates show that by 2100, 48 Pacific islands could be underwater. Additionally, the United Nations estimates that 20 million people are already being forced from their homes by climate-related hazards every year.
Despite the clear link between climate change and life- and livelihood-threatening circumstances, it’s difficult for people displaced by climate change to relocate across international borders as refugees because the term has historically entailed persecution. Therefore, under the current refugee framework, families can be denied assistance even as their homes become unlivable. However, with the UN Refugee Agency recognizing climate change as the defining crisis of our time, there’s a call in the international community to design a legal framework responding to climate-driven migration, or “climate refugees.”
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Here's what you'll find in our full How to Avoid a Climate Disaster summary:
- Bill Gates's technology-based strategies for reducing global carbon emissions
- The challenges and limitations that come with fighting climate change
- The roles governments, private entities, and individuals must play to save the planet