Bill Gates Warns Climate Change Death Toll Could Exceed COVID-19

And that the time to start acting is now.
Fabienne Lang

Back in 2015, Bill Gates predicted that a worldwide disaster due to microbes would hit our planet hard, and he was — unfortunately — right about that.

So when Gates posted a blog post on Tuesday about the next big challenge to face humanity: climate change, perhaps we should all take a page out of his book and listen.

Even though COVID-19 is hitting our planet hard at the moment, Gates warns us to keep being vigilant about climate change effects as they would have an even worse impact than the virus in the long run. 


A joint effort

Gates' message is simple: now is the time to accelerate efforts to curb climate change outcomes. Even though the planet is undergoing a moment of crisis, with horrible outcomes for millions of people around the world, Gates urges us to keep looking towards the future. 

His take? We need to start and keep "building and deploying innovations that will let us eliminate our greenhouse gas emissions."

As per Gates' post, some people are stating that there will a drop in our emissions this year due to COVID-19 slowing down economies around the world. He points out that even though this is true, emissions still won't drop enough to curb serious climate change effects down the line.

Not sugarcoating his words, Gates stated it bluntly: "If you want to understand the kind of damage that climate change will inflict, look at COVID-19 and spread the pain out over a much longer period of time. The loss of life and economic misery caused by this pandemic are on par with what will happen regularly if we do not eliminate the world’s carbon emissions."

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As per his calculations, all posted in his blog, by 2060 climate change will have killed as many people as COVID-19, and by 2100 it will be five times as deadly

These are tough numbers to digest and a rough reality to face, but one Gates urges us to deal with right now.

It's not all just doom and gloom in his blog as Gates proposes the next steps to start this process and hopefully minimize these outcomes: 

  1. Let science and innovation lead the way. Cutting back on emissions is good, but not enough, so science has to step in. Clean energy is one strong solution. 
  2. Ensure solutions are usable in poor countries too. 
  3. The time to start is now. It will require decades for any changes and impacts to properly take place, so now is the time to begin the process.

Given Gates' past predictions of our pandemic, and his thoughts on such an outbreak occurring every 20 years, perhaps we should heed his advice.

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