Reading: Pandemics in a Changing World

woman wearing mask on train
Photo by Anna Shvets on

A reading that describes the relationship between climate change and the occurrence of newly emerging infectious diseases like COVID-19. This reading by Daisy Dunne for Climate Brief discusses the rise in zoonotic diseases due to changes in habitats and closer interactions of humans and wild animals. It further highlights how these interactions are exacerbated by land-use changes such as deforestation and habitat loss.

Students will learn how climate change induced changes to biodiversity and habitat could lead to transmission of viruses from animals to humans. They will further understand how and why pandemics could develop when climate change affects the biogeographical distribution of species. 

Use this tool to help your students find answers to: 

  1. Why is there a possibility of increased incidence of newly emerging viruses in recent times?
  2. How could climate change increase the risk of inter-species virus spillover in the future?
  3. Discuss some of the factors necessary for the transmission of diseases from animals to humans. 

About the tool

Tool NameQ & A: Could climate change and biodiversity loss raise the risk of pandemics?
DisciplineBiological Sciences
Topic(s) in DisciplineInfectious Diseases, Disease Transmission, Virus, Zoonosis, Virus Spillover, Biodiversity, Habitat Loss
Climate Topic Climate and the Biosphere
Type of tool Reading
Grade LevelHigh School
Developed byDaisy Dunne , Carbon Brief
Hosted atCarbon Brief Website
Computer SkillsBasic