Climate Change in Canadian Environmental Assessment Legislation: Review and Recommendations for Further Consideration of Greenhouse Gas Emissions
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Climate change is the most urgent crisis of our time, as reflected in international agreements like the recent Paris Agreement. State members must now integrate climate change considerations into domestic legislation to honour their commitments. Environmental assessment (EA) is considered a strong tool to address climate change, but Canadian federal and provincial legislation remain unclear on how climate change and greenhouse gas (GHG) considerations must be integrated into the EA process. The Energy East pipeline project case study illustrates the need for a better integration of these considerations for more consistent assessments. European Union and American EA legislation, as well as recognized best practices, provide inspiration for recommendations on how to incorporate climate change and GHG considerations in the Canadian EA process. Recommendations include the integration of specific GHG considerations in all Canadian EA legislation, as well as a federally established threshold approach that would trigger a climate EA process.