Consideration of climate change mitigation in Canadian environmental assessment: Intention and implementation
Hetmanchuk, K. (2019). Consideration of climate change mitigation in Canadian environmental assessment: Intention and implementation. Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal.
Quantifying a proposed project’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and scrutinizing their effect on climate change are increasingly required in Canadian environmental assessment (EA) processes. This paper investigates to what degree an EA authority’s intention for the inclusion of GHG considerations has resulted in implementation into environmental impact statements (EISs) by proponents and how these considerations influence the achievement of GHG reduction targets. Fifteen projects across five Canadian jurisdictions were reviewed. The examination revealed that well-developed intentions by EA authorities did not necessarily result in proponents following guidelines for GHG consideration in their EISs due to the absence of regulation or clearly defined policies. Conversely, even though intentions by an EA authority are underdeveloped in some jurisdictions, EISs sometimes exhibited thorough GHG assessments due to mechanisms in the EA process through which GHG consideration by the proponent could be compelled. The examination did not reveal how GHG consideration in EA currently assists in meeting reduction targets. A GHG emissions limit imposed during the EA process could link EA to success in meeting these targets.