The Effects of Global Warming on Human Health

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.”

The Effects of Global Warming on Human Health

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  • Bill Gates's technology-based strategies for reducing global carbon emissions
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Darya Sinusoid

Darya’s love for reading started with fantasy novels (The LOTR trilogy is still her all-time-favorite). Growing up, however, she found herself transitioning to non-fiction, psychological, and self-help books. She has a degree in Psychology and a deep passion for the subject. She likes reading research-informed books that distill the workings of the human brain/mind/consciousness and thinking of ways to apply the insights to her own life. Some of her favorites include Thinking, Fast and Slow, How We Decide, and The Wisdom of the Enneagram.

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