Climate Change and the Emerging Disease Crisis: An Existential Threat to Technological Humanity

The emerging infectious disease (EID) crisis encompasses all pathogens affecting humans and the species upon which we depend for survival and socio-economic development. It constitutes an existential threat of global proportions. Humanity is playing a losing game with respect to emerging diseases. The Stockholm Paradigm is a new conceptual framework that explains the surprising ease with which pathogens shift to new hosts without genetic changes, given the opportunity. This makes the planet an evolutionary minefield of potential EID, needing only climate change and the resulting movements of humans and other species to trigger them. My project is twofold: (1) scientific elaboration of the Stockholm Paradigm and its implications for climate change and emerging disease and (2) making proposals based on that scientific elaboration, to be used by public policy-makers. This involves changing a crisis-response policy paradigm of “Do No Harm” to a proactive one based on the Precautionary Principle.

Project leader(s):
  • Daniel Brooks (University of Toronto)

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