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Incorporating Climate Change Considerations in Environmental Assessment: General Guidance for Practitioners

3.0 Conclusion

The purpose of this document is to provide EA practitioners with general guidance for incorporating climate change considerations in project EA, in particular:

  • GHG Considerations; and
  • Climate Change Impact Considerations

It represents the collaborative efforts of federal, provincial and territorial jurisdictions, and marks a unique initiative in Canada's response to climate change. While some effort has already been made in incorporating climate change considerations in EA, this guidance document is distinctive in putting forth a consistent methodology developed for practitioners and its assembly in a separate document.

While acknowledging that our understanding of climate change and its implications are still developing, federal, provincial and territorial jurisdictions recognize the importance of integrating existing knowledge and practices into project planning at the earliest stage. It is hoped that the consistent consideration of climate change in project EAs will increase attention to, and awareness of, GHG emissions, stimulate consideration of less emission-intensive ways to realize projects, help proponents minimize risk associated with climate change impacts on projects, and assure the public that climate change considerations are being taken into account.

In addition, incorporating climate change considerations in EA can help to determine whether projects are consistent with jurisdictional actions and initiatives to manage GHG emissions. It can also assist proponents in using best practices that adapt to possible climate change impacts, such as changes in the frequency or intensity of extreme weather events, increases in mean temperatures or altered precipitation amounts. This is an effective means for governments and project proponents to advance an agenda of sustainable development and environmental protection.

As climate change knowledge, policies and EA-related practice continue to develop, it is expected that this document will continue to be updated by jurisdictions.