Article

ADDRESSING AND COMMUNICATING CLIMATE CHANGE AND ITS UNCERTAINTIES IN PROJECT ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENTS

Journal of Environmental Assessment Policy and Management 01/2009; 11(01):29-50. DOI: 10.1142/S1464333209003245
Source: RePEc

ABSTRACT While climate change has become an important concern at both regional and global levels, its inherent uncertainties have often been cited as the main reason for delaying many actions to mitigate its potential impacts. Reviews of environmental assessments (EAs) have shown that impacts from climate change have been inadequately addressed within them and that the corresponding uncertainties have been addressed even more poorly. This paper describes several basic approaches for addressing and analysing climate change within the EAs of individual projects with a focus on its uncertainties. Subsequently, the paper describes how the results from this analysis can be effectively and comprehensively communicated to the EA's disparate set of technical and non-technical decision-makers and stakeholders. Based upon this overall approach, the paper proposes a general set of guidelines that enables proponents to incorporate climate change and its uncertainties into project EAs.

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    ABSTRACT: Climate change has important implications for assessing impacts of many types of project. If climate change is to be included in environmental assessments, then proponents must be able to incorporate its impacts and inherent uncertainties effectively into their analysis; many proponents do not possess sufficient grounding in how to accomplish this task successfully. In this paper, three basic analytical approaches to uncertainty analysis — scenario analysis, sensitivity analysis, and probabilistic analysis — are presented that proponents could use for integrating climate change induced impacts and their uncertainties into their environmental assessments, together with a framework for judging the circumstances that determine which method would be applicable. The use of these three approaches is illustrated on the environmental impacts of a run-of-the-river hydroelectric project.
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