January 12, 2015
Best Practices for Integrating Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation into Environmental Assessments
Climate change has become apparent both locally and globally, and the impacts are placing stress on the built, natural, social and economic environments. The impacts of climate change on infrastructure in Ontario range from freeze thaw cycles that cause cracking of pavements, flood events, ice and windstorm damage, and softening of tarmac during summer heat waves. These impacts have resulted in high economic costs for both governments and individuals. It is possible to reduce vulnerability and economic costs by taking a proactive approach to manage the impacts (i.e. through environmental assessments).
Currently, no formal guidelines for climate change considerations are present in the Ontario Environmental Assessment Act or the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change Codes of Practice Guidelines for EA’s. Although no regulatory guidelines exist within the province, provincial authorities have identified climate change adaptation and mitigation as a priority.
The OCC worked with students in the Masters in Environment and Sustainability Program at Western University to develop a report that examined the best practices for the integration of climate change adaptation and mitigation into environmental assessments (EAs) in Ontario.
This project developed a framework that facilitates the integration of climate change adaptation and mitigation in the EA process. This project generated three outputs:
- A literature review that examined relevant literature and examples of best practices at the provincial, national, and international scales;
- A detailed framework outlining the relevant steps for applying the best practices into restoration/green infrastructure projects; and,
- A case study using the framework developed by the project team.