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Climate change

Supporting major legislation to combat climate change

Key provisions of the Inflation Reduction Act will dramatically curtail U.S. carbon emissions and help mitigate the mental health harms of climate change.

Cite this
American Psychological Association. (2022, August 25). Supporting major legislation to combat climate change.

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President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (IRA) into law on August 16, 2022. The landmark legislation constitutes the most substantial federal response ever to combat climate change, investing nearly $370 billion in an array of new programs to incentivize clean energy production, energy efficiency improvements, and reductions in harmful pollution. The IRA is expected to reduce the U.S. annual carbon emissions 40% below 2005 peak levels by 2030. According to the Energy Innovation’s analysis of the bill, this reduction in emissions will result in 3,700–3,900 fewer premature deaths annually and also result in 100,000 fewer asthma attacks and up to 417,000 fewer days of lost work in 2030. These emission changes will also reduce the negative mental health implications of air pollution. Importantly, the IRA also extends subsidies for purchasing health insurance under the Affordable Care Act through the end of 2025, caps insulin costs for Medicare beneficiaries, and allows Medicare to begin negotiating drug prices. Ultimately, the legislation is projected to reduce the federal deficit by $270 billion.

APA has long been supportive of actions to reduce air pollution and carbon emissions. In 2011, an APA Council resolution affirmed psychologists’ role in addressing global climate change, a position which was reaffirmed in 2020. It called for the creation of a task force to review APA’s activities related to global climate change. The report of the APA Task Force on Climate Change (PDF, 2.3MB) describes the important role of psychological science in addressing climate change. APA Services also recently held an Advocacy Summit focused on encouraging policymakers to take steps to address climate change and its mental health impacts, and the inequitable impacts it is having on already vulnerable and disadvantaged populations. 

Learn more about how climate change impacts mental health and health equity (PDF, 719KB).

The White House’s full summary of the Inflation Reduction Act is available online.

For more information, contact Scott Barstow or Corbin Evans.