In April, APA wrote to John Kerry and the Biden administration expressing appreciation for their efforts to address and elevate the global climate change crisis (PDF, 98KB), and to thank them for their dedication to this pressing societal issue.
Psychological scientists have identified factors that shape the climate-relevant behaviors of individuals, organizations, and communities, and have designed strategies to help people to alter those behaviors. APA’s letter to Kerry, complementing one sent to National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy (PDF, 143KB), acknowledged the Leaders Summit on Climate convened by President Biden and highlighted APA’s previous international climate activities. APA was one of the primary organizers of the 2019 International Summit on Psychology and Global Health, at which leaders of 44 psychological associations worldwide committed to collaborate and address climate change within the framework of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Additionally, APA is the only major U.S. behavioral science organization to hold observer status at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
Psychology can illuminate how people comprehend and respond to information about climate change and how researchers and policymakers can communicate about it in ways that enhance people’s understanding and motivate them to take individual and collective action. The letter also pointed out that APA has convened a task force of leading international psychologists and other professionals to develop recommendations that will guide the next stage of psychologists’ work on climate change. The task force, expected to release its full report later this year, has identified many areas where psychology can help individuals, communities, and nations mitigate and adapt to climate change, including planning for climate-induced migrations and population displacement. These letters demonstrate APA’s continued engagement with the administration’s whole-of-government approach to address their climate change priorities.