Consortium Statement on the First Anniversary of the Inflation Reduction Act

The one year anniversary of the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) is a moment to both celebrate and take stock.

We celebrate the largest investment Congress has made to date in climate and health. The transition from fossil fuels toward renewable energy has been supercharged thanks to the IRA. Around the country, the transition looks like healthier homes that are switching to electric appliances, hospitals, and clinics installing solar to boost their resilience, and more electric vehicles that do not pollute the air we breathe.

But we also recognize that this summer has moved people here and around the globe to understand climate change as a threat to our health and safety. Deadly heat waves, droughts, floods, and wildfires whose smoke pollutes the air of millions have delivered two dovetailed lessons about climate and health. The first is that no one, no matter how wealthy or how far removed from a catastrophic climate event, can consider themselves safe from the health harms of climate. The second is that communities experiencing poverty or subject to current or historic environmental injustice are the worst impacted by these events.

The IRA investments in climate action target both of these realities. It creates broad opportunities for clean, renewable energy, clean vehicles, and residential energy efficiency, all of which will reap rapid health benefits from reducing the pollution of our air and water for everyone. And it directs investments specifically to frontline communities that have unjustly suffered the brunt of harms from fossil fuel pollution. The Consortium celebrates this anniversary and thanks the Biden Administration and Congress for this important accomplishment.

But this summer of catastrophic climate events also makes us reflect on the need to redouble our efforts to accelerate the transition to clean energy and end fossil fuel pollution. The opponents of accelerating change — the fossil fuel industry and the politicians whose silence or denialism they fund — may be motivated by their short-term interests in profit. In contrast, our advocacy for climate action is motivated by our oath to do no harm and to protect the health and safety of the people we care for and about.

We know that the public trusts health professionals, and we take that trust seriously. The Consortium has mobilized health professionals this year around the EPA’s Clean Power Plan rules and the reauthorization of the Farm Bill. We will also continue to help the public and policymakers understand that ending fossil fuel pollution will reap immediate health rewards as well as a more stable climate future. Finally, we must make public discussion about the urgency, priority, and health benefits of climate action a central feature of our public debate among candidates for office in 2024.

On the anniversary of the IRA, we celebrate this accomplishment but remind ourselves there is more to do to safeguard the health of our patients. We are grateful for our network of thousands of health professionals throughout the country for their continued advocacy for a better world.