Study: Climate Change Increases the Risk of Global Pandemics

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Any change is bad? according to a new study, warming in cold climates or cooling in warm climates increases the risk of animals getting sick, which in turn increases human exposure to dangerous new pathogens.

Global warming likely to increase disease risk for animals worldwide

Date: November 23, 2020
Source: University of Notre Dame
Summary: Changes in climate can increase infectious disease risk in animals, researchers found — with the possibility that these diseases could spread to humans, they warn.

Changes in climate can increase infectious disease risk in animals, researchers found — with the possibility that these diseases could spread to humans, they warn.

The study, conducted by scientists at the University of Notre Dame, University of South Florida and University of Wisconsin-Madison, supports a phenomenon known as “thermal mismatch hypothesis,” which is the idea that the greatest risk for infectious disease in cold climate-adapted animals — such as polar bears — occurs as temperatures rise, while the risk for animals living in warmer climates occurs as temperatures fall.

The hypothesis proposes that smaller organisms like pathogens function across a wider range of temperatures than larger organisms, such as hosts or animals.

“Understanding how the spread, severity and distribution of animal infectious diseases could change in the future has reached a new level of importance as a result of the global pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2, a pathogen which appears to have originated from wildlife,” said Jason Rohr, co-author of the paper published in Science and the Ludmilla F., Stephen J. and Robert T. Galla College Professor and chair of the Department of Biological Sciences at Notre Dame. “Given that the majority of emerging infectious disease events have a wildlife origin, this is yet another reason to implement mitigation strategies to reduce climate change.”

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The abstract of the study;

Divergent impacts of warming weather on wildlife disease risk across climates

Jeremy M. Cohen1,2,*, Erin L. Sauer1,2, Olivia Santiago1,, Samuel Spencer1,, Jason R. Rohr

Climate change alters disease risks

Climate change appears to be provoking changes in the patterns and intensity of infectious diseases. For example, when conditions are cool, amphibians from warm climates experience greater burdens of infection by chytrid fungus than hosts from cool regions. Cohen et al.undertook a global metanalysis of 383 studies to test whether this “thermal mismatch” hypothesis holds true over the gamut of host-pathogen relationships. The authors combined date and location data with a selection of host and parasite traits and weather data. In the resulting model, fungal disease risk increased sharply under cold abnormalities in warm climates, whereas bacterial disease prevalence increased sharply under warm abnormalities in cool climates. Warming is projected to benefit helminths more than other parasites, and viral infections showed less obvious relationships with climate change.

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The researchers’ inference that distress experienced by animals during unusual weather conditions can tell you anything about the impact of climate change seems dubious.

Why would animals which withstand seasonal temperature variations in the 10s of degrees will suddenly all sicken because of a rate of climate change which can barely be detected?

Even on the edge of the tropics where I live Winter is around 5-10C colder than Summer.

A proportion of animals are always at the edge of their range, they continuously move about and probe new ranges. It seems a big leap to infer that the gradual global warming we are experiencing would significantly increase the number of animals experiencing range distress. Global warming of 0.1C / decade is the climatic equivalent of moving South a few miles every year. Even a mouse can out walk climate change.

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Bruce Cobb
November 26, 2020 6:16 am

Total nonsense. Once again, climate “researchers” are confusing and conflating weather with climate, in order to push an agenda.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Bruce Cobb
November 26, 2020 9:40 am

It’s really quite a stretch, isn’t it? I haven’t seen a stretch that good since Bob Gibson retired from pitching.

john harmsworth
Reply to  Pop Piasa
November 26, 2020 1:41 pm

According to climate change scientists, Bob Gibson’s fastball was only about 10 mph.

Danley Wolfe
Reply to  john harmsworth
November 26, 2020 3:42 pm

….that depends on whether the axis from the pitcher’s mound to home plate is aligned with or perpendicular to the axis of the earth. The left hander’s curve ball is more affected than the split finger fast ball.

November 26, 2020 6:22 am

Changes in climate can…

[add your climate change remote possiblity here]…


The world is in turmoil, with the United States fractured as a result of a general election and a pandemic of Covid Virus ravaging Europe. The United Kingdom is ruled as a neo-fascist police state by the Conservative Party, helmed by all-powerful Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Not too distant from

The world is in turmoil, with the United States fractured as a result of a second civil war and a pandemic of the “St. Mary’s Virus” ravaging Europe. The United Kingdom is ruled as a Nordic supremacist and neo-fascist police state by the Norsefire Party, helmed by all-powerful High Chancellor Adam Sutler.

V for Vendetta.

November 26, 2020 6:37 am

In the Fourth Horseman: A Short History of Epidemics, Plagues, Famines & Other Scourges, Andrew Nikiforuk makes the point that the great plagues were a result of a population weakened by malnutrition.

The answer to plagues and pandemics should be prosperity for all. That mostly requires cheap energy. That means fossil fuels now and nuclear energy later.

I would say that the difference between the plague times and now is modern technology. We have it, they didn’t.

Reply to  commieBob
November 26, 2020 7:27 am

Tuchman’s “A Distant Mirror: : The Calamitous 14th Century”, makes the point that the collapse of the Bardi and Peruzzi Banks destroyed agriculture, brought famine just as the plague hit.
Actually that plague resulted from the first known use of biological warfare – at Sebastopol the Horde catapulted infected living comrades into the city, and 2 sailors turned up in Genoa with symptoms too horrible to mention.

These banks were using the first recorded derivative financial instruments and dramatically collapsed.
So it is critical that today the global financial empire centered in the City of London with $15 QUADRILLION nominal paper debt is folded before it implodes. 2008 was just a pre-tremor.

So knowing this, the green financiers have gone insane. The Davos “8 predictions for the world in 2030”
is a recipe to “displace” billions onto a scrap heap. And the current plague has hit, and the decimated healthcare system, after massive bank bailouts, is reeling under the impact.

But this time we have fossil fuels and nuclear options. Also space. Great projects such as NAWAPA, and emphatically we have China developing at pace, ignoring the Davos crowd. We are better off, and can actually rid the planet of such an oligarchy.

Reply to  bonbon
November 26, 2020 10:17 am

… “displace” billions onto a scrap heap.

Both the Democrats and Republicans threw the forgotten people under the bus. The result was President Trump, an inauthentic Republican. I would say that was a real mild rebuke to the party establishments.

Imagine what will happen if a huge bunch of tech savvy folks get displaced and they can identify someone as the enemy. It would be something like 1930s Germany on steroids. Whoever was identified as the enemy wouldn’t be safe anywhere on the planet. The sad thing is that, just as with Germany, the wrong people would be identified as the enemy.

My advice to the fat cats at Davos … Shut Up! … Now!

John Tillman
Reply to  bonbon
November 26, 2020 3:28 pm

Siege of Caffa, modern Feodosia, at opposite end of the Crimean Peninsula from Sebastopol, founded 1783 as a Russian naval base.

Reply to  John Tillman
November 27, 2020 2:37 am

Biden’s presumptive Sec. State, Blinken, deeply involved in the Ukraine scandal with Hunter, might just be insane enough “to take Crimea back”.
Then, for a blink of an eye everyone will know the topography there before going thermonuclear.
Interesting that the “west” seems to be attracted to their doom always there.

Reply to  commieBob
November 26, 2020 9:42 am
November 26, 2020 6:38 am

Was data for this study tabulated using Dominion software?

JP Kalishek
November 26, 2020 6:40 am

“What’s the latest scare?”
Why are you asking?
“Well, if we blame it on Climate Change, we can ensure we are still the highest priority and keep the money flowing in!”

It’s almost like they want everyone to think climate is supposed to be static, which if it was would be an actual disaster. Climate always changes. How much we are responsible for is the quibble, and with the shutdowns. it is showing we are in no way near what they claim we are responsible. Seems we are within the margin of the natural variability.

November 26, 2020 6:50 am

Increased population, increased air travel, increased public transit, larger schools, would these maybe be bigger factors than an increase in nightime temperature over a century ?

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  DMacKenzie
November 26, 2020 8:47 am

An increase that no one even notices.

Sweet Old Bob
November 26, 2020 7:00 am

Well ……. they need to figure out how to stop summer and winter ….

November 26, 2020 7:01 am

All of this grasping at straws to support a ‘scientific’ narrative that lacks logic, rigor and certainty is getting tiresome.

Steve Case
Reply to  co2isnotevil
November 26, 2020 7:56 am

co2isnotevil November 26, 2020 at 7:01 am
All of this grasping at straws to support a ‘scientific’ narrative that lacks logic, rigor and certainty is getting tiresome.

Getting tiresome? It ‘s been tiresome for several decades.

Reply to  Steve Case
November 26, 2020 8:34 am

You’ve got a friend.

Gregory Woods
Reply to  co2isnotevil
November 26, 2020 8:13 am

Expensive and dangerous

John Tillman
November 26, 2020 7:23 am

The Spanish Flu, a zoonotic virus which slew tens of millions, after tens of millions lost in a global war, in a much less populous world, occurred under cooler conditions, with CO2 at around 300 ppm. Fewer than two million deaths have been attributed to COVID, yet many more people now enjoy a warmer world and over 400 ppm of plant food in our air.

I’ll take the 21st century, thanks.

Reply to  John Tillman
November 26, 2020 10:02 am

Agree, but the Bolsheviks from that time are still on the march and they need to be defeated.

John Tillman
Reply to  Scissor
November 26, 2020 3:30 pm

True. Every generation needs to be innoculated anew against the virus of socialism. Its siren call appeals to the young without memory of the horrors and internal contradictions of communism, ie international socialism, and fascism, ie national socialism.

November 26, 2020 7:27 am

Everything changes the “risk” of everything else.
It has for 4.5 billion years and yet here we still are!
I wonder before the big bang what was the “risk” of a universe coming into existence?
This was no doubt increased by global warming.
During the big bang conventional science says the universe was cooling as it expanded so that atoms could form.
But Nick Stokes and Steve Mosher will help them homogenise that so it will turn out to have been warming back then too.

November 26, 2020 7:29 am

” . . . In the resulting model. . . ”


November 26, 2020 7:31 am

Winter, climate change, has put my tomcat is a very bad mood.
With a cold, if he saw that dog in the lead, it would be sushi.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  bonbon
November 26, 2020 8:43 am

Wow! Your cat can turn dogs into fish? It’s a miracle!

Reply to  Jeff Alberts
November 27, 2020 2:48 am

Terrible to witness.
Poor dogs. The nose is especially easy meat.

Ed H
November 26, 2020 7:37 am

They may think they found the perfect totalitarian narrative. CLimate Change cuasing pandemics let’s them try to say that to prevent more covid-19 situations we have to let them take over everything that they say affects climate. Instead of rising sea levels and starving polar bears, they just can keep shouting it’s to prevent future pandemics. Of course, it is all bunk, but their creative grasping knows no bounds.

November 26, 2020 7:55 am

The COVID19 crisis was caused by the accidental release of a genetically modified coronavirus from a Chinese laboratory located in Wuhan China, and WHO’s incompetence/coverup/criminally negligent inaction which lead to the rapid global spread of the virus…

It had nothing to do with the CAGW hoax.

Joe Crawford
Reply to  SAMURAI
November 26, 2020 10:27 am

Actually the WHO have been bought and paid for by the Chinese for some time now.

Reply to  SAMURAI
November 29, 2020 8:56 am

Even if it was an accident, the Chinese could certainly project that a pandemic would harm Trump’s chances at re-election. Letting the China virus loose would be a very stealthy way to affect our election.

Isolating Wuhan from the rest of China while allowing the virus to escape and infect the rest of the world was certainly premeditated. The only question is was the motivation to not be the only country infected or was it to harm Trump. Bear in mind that the CCP is demonstrably ruthless and Trump became their biggest impediment to world domination.

November 26, 2020 8:22 am

Climate already impacts on animals. A squirrel has been very busy collecting nuts for the winter. It can be seen with it’s jaws full as it crosses the road. The climate crowd should be careful it does not grab them for the winter.

November 26, 2020 8:27 am

Are all “climate change” believers creationists?

Nick Graves
Reply to  Curious George
November 26, 2020 8:58 am

Imaginationists, more like.

Reply to  Curious George
November 26, 2020 9:13 am

Well, first you have to specify whether you’re talking about climate change or phony climate change. If the latter, then I think Luddites would be appropriate, and the world, as ever, as it did before, will move on anyway regardless, because the phony leftists can only slow it down by parasitizing the economy. They don’t care anyway. It’s a bank account thing.

Jeff Alberts
November 26, 2020 8:45 am

“Any change is bad?”

Yes. The Klimate Krowd apparently think everything should be in stasis, that all things should be exactly average, with zero deviation.

Reply to  Jeff Alberts
November 26, 2020 9:17 am

No, that’s what they tell people, normal people and useful idiots alike. They don’t actually think that although, granted, the useful idiots do.

This site wouldn’t be the same without the useful idiots. HAPPY THANKSGIVING to all, and I mean all.

November 26, 2020 8:53 am

Wow, sure didn’t see that coming. Seriously. You can believe me as much as this “research”.

November 26, 2020 9:02 am

Temperature changes don’t increase the number of pathogen types.
It might increase the number of pathogens in a particular animal, but unless that animal comes in contact with humans, then there is no increase in chances of passing on the pathogen.
Beyond that, animals that are sick tend to be less mobile, not more.

Finally, if a pathogen can’t pass from animals before climate change, then the having the temperature warm up by a couple of tenths of a degree (if that much) isn’t going to change the pathogen.

Another nonsense on stilts “study” that will quoted ad infinitum by the climate faithfull.

November 26, 2020 9:03 am

“Why would animals which withstand seasonal temperature variations in the 10s of degrees will suddenly all sicken because of a rate of climate change which can barely be detected?”

Since the majority of impact from CO2 is to make nights and winters warmer, more CO2 would actually decrease the seasonal temperature variations.

Ben Vorlich
November 26, 2020 9:26 am

Prophecies of death always come true, it might take a bit of time though.

November 26, 2020 9:27 am

Everyone knows that viruses are seasonal – infection rates drop from sping to summer and rise from fall to winter. There are likely several reasons for this; heat and humidity kills viruses, less time spent indoors, increased ventilation from opened windows, along with sunshine killing viruses and increasing vitamin D levels. Since the small amount of warming (1 deg C in 100 years) shows up mainly in winter and overnight temps, the only real effect of climate change has been to shorten winter (by just a few days) shortening the period of high infection. The conclusion of the study is obviously wrong – it’s just more climate alarmist carnival barking.

November 26, 2020 9:38 am

I think we do have enough evidence to show that climate change does cause declines in science integrity and rising seas of bad public policy.

November 26, 2020 9:44 am

“Why would animals which withstand seasonal temperature variations in the 10s of degrees will suddenly all sicken because of a rate of climate change which can barely be detected?”

Perhaps they watch the BBC.

November 26, 2020 9:45 am

Climate change causes………… (insert current event news headline here)

“Climate change causes…Joe’s Crab Shack to Close Early Today”

November 26, 2020 9:54 am

“Scientist Demands Retraction of Original PCR Study”

“10. My last but by no means least point of criticism is that the article describing the PCR COVID-19 test is not peer reviewed. Why I think this I have explained above. I find that very bad because the test is used for diagnostics.”

John Bell
November 26, 2020 9:59 am

You knew they would make that connection, to get the people ready to be fleeced.

November 26, 2020 10:47 am

The Climate Disinformation Campaign rolls onward. Fueled by the massive sums of wealth and power the scam promises its rulers and elitist enablers, the destruction of the western-style democracies’s middle class is at hand. The destruction of affordable energy, both fossil fuel and electricity, the life blood of middle class prosperity will be hidden in The Great Reset to take down capitalism – the machine that built the middle class.

Walter Sobchak
November 26, 2020 11:03 am

How does climate change affect the operation of virus creation laboratories in Communist China?

Alasdair Fairbairn
November 26, 2020 11:33 am

The alarmist propaganda agenda is getting very desperate indeed these days . Some day it will all go pop. Meanwhile from what they say the climate is playing up with my athletes foot problem.
OH dear- more sleepless nights. (sarc.

November 26, 2020 11:34 am

“The Last Word on Sweden Viral Issue – Understanding the Reality!”

High Treason
November 26, 2020 12:24 pm

There are indeed remarkable links between climate change and COVID. The links are very strong indeed, perhaps totally conclusive!

Both require a large amount of media hype and support. The premises of both scare campaigns are on pretty flimsy pretexts, but require, like propaganda, for the message to be plugged relentlessly.

Both rely on the appeal to authority (the classic liars tactic) to put people off the scent in terms of questioning the narrative. Both use big names to promote the hysteria.

Both appeal to the base human emotions of Fear, Guilt, Lust, Sloth and Greed. In the case of cAGW, it is Guilt and Fear. In the case of COVID, it is fear. Following the money shows that Greed is a motivation to engage in the fraud. Climate change has resulted in a shakedown of the nations of the world for around 200 billion a year to the UN, the ones promulgating the myth. Vaccine makers are set to make trillions from a “vaccine” as well as potentially having everyone microchipped, eventually to be linked to their personal finances. This has the potential to usurp our personal economic sovereignty-you can lose it all with the click of a mouse.

Both indulge in name – calling to put us off the scent in terms of questioning the narrative. racist, denier, sexist, misogynist, conspiracy theorist etc. Another classic liars tactic. They also get nastier – they undermine dissenters’ careers and ability to derive an income. The right and ability to question is a basic human right. Like freedom of speech, freedom of belief, property rights and the right to redress in the event of injury, the freedom to question is fundamental to human freedom as well as human progress.

There other similarities, which WUWT will clearly see.

They are all out of the liars’ handbook.

Moderately Cross of East Anglia
November 26, 2020 12:25 pm

Thermal mismatch? Wow, as in:
“Turn the heating up a bit dear, I’m cold”
“No, I’m too hot and anyway you’ll destroy the ozone layer or something”

Meanwhile another decade rolls on with no evidence of any climate catastrophe in sight except in the minds of the end of times cultists, who are always with us throughout human history.

November 26, 2020 1:42 pm

R.I.P Science. “Facts” are now decided by peer groups and conjecture.

Rory Forbes
November 26, 2020 1:42 pm

It’s well understood that “climate change” is among the conditions causing speciation and since it is also the default condition of climate nothing we can do is likely to change that. I mean, hell … I’ve still yet to find many people who understand what “climate” means. It’s not like climate is something we can consciously experience. Most people are unaware of less than a 0.5 degree F change in an hour, never mind a decade … or 60+ years.

First learn what climate means … hint, this planet doesn’t have one.

November 26, 2020 3:34 pm

“Understanding how the spread, severity and distribution of animal infectious diseases could change in the future has reached a new level of importance as a result of the global pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2, a pathogen which appears to have originated from wildlife,” said Jason Rohr …

I am continually amazed at the blindness of so-called health experts (as quoted above) regarding the origin of the ChiCom flu. In the footsteps of “climate” researchers who will compromise and prostitute themselves for a research dollar, never bothering to open-mindedly investigate and challenge the prevailing narrative for themselves. Science is dead.

As I have said before:
(1) There is exactly one (1), count’em 1, BSL4 laboratory in China doing virology research, likely including “gain of function” research. It is in Wuhan.
(2) There are tens of thousands cities, towns and villages in the world where a vast array of fresh meats and wild game are sold in markets, yet this virus originated in just one, Wuhan.
Coincidence? Wet markets? NO WAY.
China unleashed this thing on the world from their lab in Wuhan. The only question is whether it was an accident or an intentional act of war. I lean toward the latter. In either case, when will the world demand reparations from China for the deaths and damages that it caused? This is WWIII.

November 26, 2020 4:11 pm

“”Changes in climate can increase infectious disease risk in animals, researchers found — with the possibility that these diseases could spread to humans, they warn”

“fungal disease risk increased sharply”.

Have the researchers quantified the increase and decrease?

If I buy five lottery tickets instead of one, my chances of winning the jackpot have increased sharply (5 times), but I still end up not winning the jackpot.

November 27, 2020 12:15 am

COVID19 death rates in Far-East Asia are comparatively very low compared to the rest of the world primarily due to: much higher natural T-cell immunity from more exposure to many varieties of coronaviruses, much lower obesity rates, and diets higher in vitamin D, and we’re certainly not because of higher incidence of mask wearing or stupid economic shutdowns..

Here are the deaths per million population in some Far-East/Oceania countries, many of whom are developing countries:

Cambodia: 0
Laos: 0
Mongolia: 0
Macao: 0
Bhutan: 0
Taiwan: 0.3
Vietnam: 0.4
New Guinea: 0.8
Thailand: 0.9
China: 3 (*?)
Singapore: 5
New Zealand: 5
S.Korea: 10
Malaysia: 11
Hong Kong: 14
Japan: 16
Australia: 35
Philippines: 75

Compare these to Western countries’ COVID19 deaths/million population:
Belgium: 1,397
Spain: 949
Italy: 875
Czechia: 839
UK: 838
USA: 812
Brazil: 804
Mexico: 800
Bosnia and Herzegovina: 758
Sweden: 654

Anyone contributing these much lower Far-East Asian COVID19 deaths/million population to economic shutdowns and mask wearing is a complete fool.

Anders Valland
November 27, 2020 12:41 am

They are right, but for the wrong reasons. Climate is being used to drive centralisation of our population, moving ever more people into tighter dwellings in cities. When people live in tighter confines, a virus has a far better chance of succeeding. As we see today. The Covid problems are primarily found in places with high population concentrations.

Climate believer
November 27, 2020 2:10 pm

“implement mitigation strategies to reduce climate change.”
or you could….
“implement adaptation strategies”
It will cost less and be much more effective.

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