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Bill Gates at COP28: A Convergence of Climate Change and Global Health

Updated: Jan 14

COP28, held in Dubai, witnessed a significant intervention from Bill Gates, who brought a unique perspective on the intersection of climate change and global health.

As a renowned philanthropist and technology innovator, Gates's insights at COP28 highlighted the vital connections between our environmental challenges and their impact on human welfare.

a flag bearing the logo of COP28 UAE, indicating it is from the 28th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) held in the United Arab Emirates

Bill Gates on Climate Change and Human Health

Climate Change as a Health Issue

Bill Gates emphasized the inherent link between climate change and health, particularly for the most vulnerable populations. He articulated that extreme climate change could ruin people's health, especially for the poorest who depend on farming.

The failure of crops due to climate change can lead to malnutrition and increased susceptibility to diseases like diarrhea and pneumonia. Gates stressed that

"in the end, it's all about the human condition."

Optimism in the Face of Challenges

Despite the daunting challenges posed by climate change, Gates remains optimistic about the innovations that have driven progress in health. He acknowledged that while climate change poses a significant headwind, the progress made in health, such as halving child mortality rates, can continue with the right focus on climate issues​​.

Innovations in Global Health

Gates highlighted the Reaching The Last Mile forum's commitment, in partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, to eliminate neglected tropical diseases. This initiative, which received substantial funding, aims to expand its reach across Africa and Yemen, illustrating the potential of targeted health interventions.

Balancing Climate and Health Funding

At COP28, Gates warned against overlooking global health in favor of climate initiatives. He urged for a balanced approach, recognizing that while climate change is critical, so is maintaining funding for health initiatives like vaccines and treatments for neglected diseases.

COP28: A Historic Moment for Health

COP28 marked a historic moment by dedicating a full day to health-related issues, signifying the growing recognition of the interconnectedness of climate and health. Gates emphasized the importance of not letting climate overshadow other critical areas like vaccine and medicine procurement.


Gates' Speech at COP28: Investing in Innovations

The Imperative of Innovation

In his speech, Gates underscored the need for innovative solutions to reach zero emissions. He highlighted advancements across various sectors, including manufacturing, transportation, and agriculture, showcasing how innovation is pivotal in tackling climate change.

Infrastructure and Pathways to Zero Emissions

Gates pointed out the necessity for smarter power grids and pathways like clean hydrogen and carbon capture, underlining the need for significant investment in these areas.

The Green Premium and Climate Goals

He spoke about the 'Green Premium', the cost difference between eco-friendly and traditional technologies, advocating for its reduction to make the transition affordable worldwide.

Adapting to a Warmer Planet

Gates highlighted the need to support those most affected by climate change, such as farmers in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, and called for sustainable, resilient approaches to agriculture.

Innovation as a Magnifier of Efforts

He emphasized the role of innovation in magnifying efforts to improve human welfare and combat climate change, citing the reduction in childhood deaths due to vaccines as a testament to this approach.


Navigating the Future: Integrating Climate Action with Global Health

Bill Gates' participation at COP28 brought a crucial perspective, intertwining the challenges of climate change with global health needs.

His call for a balanced approach to funding and innovation underscores the need for holistic solutions that address the planet's and its inhabitants' health.

As the world navigates the complexities of climate change, Gates' insights offer a roadmap for prioritizing human welfare alongside environmental sustainability.


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