Published on August 5th, 2016 | by Joshua S Hill0
White House Directs Federal Agencies To Consider Climate Change In Decisions
August 5th, 2016 by Joshua S Hill
The White House Council on Environmental Quality has this week directed Federal agencies to consider the impacts of their actions on climate change in all future decision-making.
Announced on Tuesday, the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) released final guidance for all Federal agencies to consider the impacts of their decision-making on climate change in their National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) reviews. Specifically, according to the White House, “Federal agencies are required to consider and disclose the potential effects of their actions and decisions on the environment.”
According to the Memorandum for Heads of Federal Departments and Agencies (PDF), “when addressing climate change agencies should consider:
- The potential effects of a proposed action on climate change as indicated by assessing GHG emissions (e.g., to include, where applicable, carbon sequestration)
- The effects of climate change on a proposed action and its environmental impacts
Further, on top of providing Federal agencies with guidance on how to describe climate change impacts, the guidance also:
- Advises agencies to quantify projected greenhouse gas emissions of proposed federal actions whenever the necessary tools, methodologies, and data inputs are available
- Encourages agencies to draw on their experience and expertise to determine the appropriate level (broad, programmatic or project- or site-specific) and the extent of quantitative or qualitative analysis required to comply with NEPA
- Counsels agencies to consider alternatives that would make the action and affected communities more resilient to the effects of a changing climate
- Reminds agencies to use existing information and science when assessing proposed actions
The move will go a long way to prioritizing environmental and climate protection throughout a variety of agencies that may have previously failed to prioritize environmental and climate decision-making.