Apr 29 2022
Climate change is forcing animal migrations at an unprecedented scale, bringing many previously disconnected species into close contact and dramatically raising the likelihood of viruses leaping into new hosts and sparking future pandemics. That’s according to a new study in the journal Nature, which predicts that climate-driven disruptions to Earth’s ecosystems will create thousands of cross-species viral transmissions in the coming decades. We speak with The Atlantic’s Ed Yong, who says this new era can be thought of as the “Pandemicene,” a time defined by the power of viruses over humanity and the wider world. “In a warming world, we’ll get lots of these spillover events in which viruses find new hosts, mostly transferring between animal to animal but increasing the odds that they will eventually then spill over into us,” says Yong.