Climate Committee


The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has issued a series of reports, based on findings and predictive modelling of climate scientists worldwide, on growing instability in the climate system caused largely by fossil fuel emissions. In 2018 the IPCC declared a climate emergency, stating that reducing carbon emissions rapidly is crucial if the next and future generations are to have any chance of survival. So far, not nearly enough priority is being given by politicians across the world to addressing the problem, with some governments setting future targets to reduce carbon emissions while in practice not taking action, and others abandoning the science and arguing the climate crisis is fake news. Given the weight of evidence, this is the territory of disavowal. Many more people are stepping out of disavowal and recognising humanity faces a climate emergency, and these include children anxious about their future. Psychoanalysts can in this situation bring their understanding of the human psyche to bear to help people as they struggle to engage with climate reality as it affects both the internal and external world. In order to recognise the expertise of psychoanalysts and to recognise the importance of adding that expertise to that of other disciplines in addressing the climate crisis, the IPA is setting up the new IPA in the Community Climate Committee.


This committee is mandated to:

  • explore the degree of understanding of and interest in - and engagement with - this issue among the IPA's members;
  • consult and work with other IPA committees and with relevant external organisations, including advising the Board and IPA committees on how awareness of climate change could or should affect all our work;
  • devise and implement projects which will:
  1. encourage understanding of climate change among IPA members; 
  2. encourage IPA members to develop thinking on the climate crisis, including through writing articles and reports;
  3. encourage the development and sharing of best practice about appropriate psychoanalytic responses, including addressing issues in the clinic; relating to media enquiries and relating to requests from the public with how to manage feelings of anxiety about climate change. These requests are already being made in the UK;
  4. encourage the development and sharing of understanding though organising events, panels and teaching modules, in-person and virtual, to enable Members and others to engage with this issue;
  5. working to educate candidates and qualified members and other mental health professional about the mental health impacts of climate change.


The committee will consist of:

  • 1 chair;
  • 4 members, 1 from each of the four regions (Europe, North America, Latin American and Asia-Pacific);
  • 1 IPSO member;
  • Co-opted members as required.

In line with longstanding IPA policy, all members including the chair will be deemed to have resigned at the date a new President takes office, but all have the possibility of immediate re-appointment. The maximum total term of office for anyone engaged in an IPA committee is usually four years.

Ways of working

Like all IPA committees, this committee is expected to do the majority of its work virtually, using email and remote technologies (Skype, etc.). The committee will also have free access to the IPA's own systems (Zoom and GoToMeeting). The committee will be self-supporting for secretarial and other purposes with no staff allocated.

The committee may decide to have an occasional face-to-face meeting: if they do, this should take place alongside an existing psychoanalytic meeting (such as a regional congress) both to minimise additional travel and costs to the IPA and also to minimise the carbon involved in such meetings.

The committee can apply for an annual budget in the normal way.

By the end of November each year the committee will send an annual report to the Board setting out any matters of interest or concern and reporting on the impact of its work and any IPA resources allocated to the committee.


Approved by the Board, January 2020

Full NamePosition
Mrs. Sally WeintrobeChair
Dra. Maria Luiza GastalMember
Delaram Habibi-KohlenMember
Prof. Dr. Pushpa MisraMember
Mary-Anne SmithMember
Dr. Karyn TodesMember
Dr. Lynne ZeavinMember