As most countries around the world gradually exit the hard-hitting effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to note that climate change can bring about several threats in the future. It can bring humans and animals closer and risk new viral transmissions. It is anticipated that in the coming fifty years, there will be at least fifteen thousand instances of viruses transferring from one species to the other. These leaps of the different viruses can hold several threats for humans and animals, leading to potentially more deadly pandemics.
With the developments of global warming, animal species are expected to move into new areas which provide better habitats for them. Animals bring to the fore parasites and pathogens. This results in an increased probability of “zoonotic spillover”, which in simple terms means the transfer of viruses from animals to humans.
Climate change is impacting the core foundations of the world and the transfer of viruses between species could already be happening. The efforts being done now to address global warming might be too little, too late. This underscores the importance of investment in infrastructure, to cater for increasing future infections that might plague the world.
Up until recently the spilling of viral infections from animals to humans was not understood as a significant threat. The more detriment to agriculture, the higher the risks of people coming into contact with animals, that can infect them.
Bats are amongst the highest risk species. One of the reasons for this is due to their ability to travel large distances. One of the theories surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic is that it was born due to an infected bat in Wuhan. To make matters worse, it is estimated that there are over three thousand coronaviruses already being transferred around bat populations.
The fact that monitoring of viral infections is not sophisticated enough, underscores that processes to prevent future pandemics need to be solidly established. This must take place in conjunction with actions to dilute the dependencies on fossil fuels. Habitats of animals must be conserved together with the strict regulation of wildlife trade.
When considering all the potential risks and repercussions, one understands that the costs of climate change are insurmountable, bringing about risks to health and economic prosperity. If not controlled, this can lead to a grim future for the different species inhabiting our planet, including us humans!