3.7 Climate Change and Impact Assessment | Implementing the Vision | Let's talk EA

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3.7 Climate Change and Impact Assessment

about 2 years ago
CLOSED: This map consultation has concluded

Climate change is one of the biggest challenges of our time, and Canada has committed to take action to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 30 per cent below 2005 levels before 2030. To achieve this objective, Canada’s First Ministers developed a comprehensive plan, the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change (the “Pan-Canadian Framework”), which includes several initiatives to reduce emissions, build resilience to adapt to a changing climate, and accelerate innovation and adoption of clean technologies.

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Please tell us your thoughts on what the Expert Panel proposed in this section.

Wildsight about 2 years ago
This section is very weak.We must fully consider carbon emissions – upstream, direct, and downstream – in environmental assessments. When carbon emissions from a project being assessed aren’t compatible with Canada’s international commitments on climate change, those emissions must be reduced in the planning stages – or the project shouldn’t be built. The projects we build now commit us to carbon emissions for decades to come - carbon emissions that, in many cases, we just can't afford.Specifically, we need to make sure we are fully assessing the upstream impacts (e.g. the upstream methane emissions associated with an LNG project), the direct emissions from the construction and operation of the project, and the downstream emissions (e.g. the emissions from burning of the natural gas from an LNG project, the shipping emissions, etc.).We also need to be sure we are using appropriate conversion factors for the short timescales we are dealing with for methane and other potent non-carbon dioxide GHGs. We need to base emissions numbers, especially for methane, on testing and the best available science, not estimates from proponents or blanket estimates from government (as has recently been shown to be an issue in BC).We just don’t have time for further study on this issue. We need to respect our carbon limits immediately - and that means fully considering the carbon impacts of reviewable projects.We simply can't have an environmental assessment process that doesn't fully account for carbon in 2017. Canada, as one of the richest countries in the world, and a country with one of the highest per capita carbon emission levels, has a responsibility to make real reductions in our carbon emissions as soon as possible. To do that, we need to fully consider carbon emissions in our environmental assessment processes immediately.
Meg Sears for Prevent Cancer Now about 2 years ago
A Canadian National Centre of Excellence in Environmental Health could house data and analyses necessary to support IAs and subsequent monitoring, and to develop the science over the long term. This will be essential to respond nimbly to accelerating climate and related environmental changes – needed for National security.
Anna Johnston, West Coast Environmental Law about 2 years ago
We were pleased with the Panel’s recommendation that Canada lead a collaborative federal strategic IA of climate. However, the legislation should also set out requirements for climate considerations at the project level. The Environmental Planning and Assessment Caucus’ recommendations to the Expert Panel regarding considering climate in IA (in its written submission provided in December 2016) are instructive. For example, the legislation should require IAs to assess whether proposed projects affect Canada’s ability to meet its international climate commitments and obligations.
Elizabeth May about 2 years ago
As noted above, this is totally supported.
Q'ul-lhanumutsun Aquatic Resources Society about 2 years ago
Federal IAs should consider impacts on a regional, national and world-wide scale (i.e. impacts contributing to climate change). The recommendation alone is not clear, but the Panel better describes how to consider climate change impacts within the report.
Northern Health Authority of BC about 2 years ago
Northern Health is in support of the recommendations within this section of the Panel's report.
Shane Borchardt about 2 years ago
Agreed. Climate change is one of the biggest challenges of our time and poor performing projects should be discouraged and/or prevented from further contributing. However, this needs to be done fairly across all energy sources, including renewables. For example, all current baseload wind generation needs to be backstopped by natural gas or coal fired plants given that the wind farms only produce electricity 30% of the time at best. Therefore these wind farms are only for show and do not significantly reduce GHG emissions from the baseline. This should be recognized in the EA process and discouraged.
Ontario Rivers Alliance about 2 years ago
Climate change is one of the biggest challenges of our time, and this is all the more reason why we need a strong science-based planning framework. The Pan-Canadian Framework is a façade that is politically and job oriented, and is not authentic science and evidence-based planning.For example, Canada’s Mid-Century Long-Term Low-Greenhouse Gas Development Strategy, includes hydroelectric in all scenarios of its Pan-Canadian framework as a clean energy technology utilized to help reduce GHG emissions. As a matter of fact, the document goes so far as to state, “Canada already has one of the cleanest electricity systems in the world, with more than 80% of electricity generated from sources that do not produce greenhouse gas emissions such as hydro, wind, solar, and nuclear power. Canadian rivers provide immense hydroelectric generating capability, and Canada is second largest producer of hydroelectricity globally.” This is blatantly untrue! Trust and confidence are undermined with such a misleading and disappointing claim. The truth is that hydroelectric facilities harm the environment and, when headponds or reservoirs are flooded, can produce significant amounts of carbon dioxide and methane for decades, and possibly centuries. This important and well-studied fact has not even been acknowledged, let alone accounted for, in your Pan-Canadian Framework, even though a 2004 Environment Canada document reports, “In contrast to the widespread assumption (e.g., in Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change scenarios) that GHGs emitted from reservoirs are negligible, measurements made in boreal and tropical regions indicate they can be substantial”.It is not in Canada’s best interests to acknowledge that approximately 1.3% of world greenhouse gas emissions are coming from reservoirs, because it is the 2nd largest producer in the World. Therefore, science is conveniently ignored, and the Pan-Canadian Framework refers to hydroelectric as a clean and renewable source of power generation.This is the type of approach that undermines trust and confidence in an entire government, not to mention the process, or the projects it has been assigned to assess and approve.ORA recommends that Canada lead a federal strategic IA or similar co-operative and collaborative mechanism that considers the present and future effects of a rapidly changing climate, and that climate change must carry a heavy weight in consideration of whether a project should move forward.
Campaign for the Protection of Offshore Nova Scotia about 2 years ago
CPONS wholeheartedly agrees with the Report’s conclusion that there is an “urgent national need for clarity and consistency on how to consider climate change in project and regional IAs.”
Anne Gent about 2 years ago
I appreciate Canada's commitment to addressing climate change. If done correctly, this could add value to the process.
Charlene B about 2 years ago
The proposal has potential. It needs to be implemented in an appropriate way.
Kirsten Ketilson about 2 years ago
I think an impact assessment of the Pan Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change would be beneficial, and should have been completed before it was published. I don't think that project IAs should be held up while the government completes this process.
Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment about 2 years ago
The BMJ has called climate change the "greatest health threat of our times" and subsequently also the "greatest health opportunity of our times". Everything we do as a human community must address this overarching problem or be doomed to long-term failure.
Mark Walker about 2 years ago
There is enough valid data and evidence that calls into question the notion of Climate Change, any responsible govt would refrain from implementing any far reaching policy initiatives that would impact the cost, timing or scope of any project until such time as man made Climate Change can be confirmed or disproven.
Susi E about 2 years ago
Climate change is one important aspect of impact in permitting projects to move forward. Our government must make a healthy environment the right of all Canadians. As such, going forward with oil and gas industries is counter-intuitive and will not support the commitment to combat climate change, honour the Canadian peoples, nor stall the devastations caused by pollution. Not only should Canadians have the right to a healthy environment in law, but also should industries who pollute pay to clean up their own messes.
Robert Huck about 2 years ago
This could work if implemented well. It won't be.
Rick Palmer about 2 years ago
Encourage the federal government to engage with provinces and territories concerning the proposed recommendations and impacts to future investment and job creation. A complex and inefficient federal environmental assessment process will result in diminished investment in Canada’s energy resources.
Jacqueline Steffen about 2 years ago
I believe the federal priorities on climate change are a step in the right direction. It is imperative we work on clean energy technologies such as hemp, solar and wind. I find it ridiculous that Canadian companies are doing far more business outside of our own country. One of hemp’s most innovative and applicable uses today is in building materials sector. Hemp can be used for all sorts of building materials, replacing or supplementing traditional materials including wood and concrete. There are a wider range of products, but the most important categories are Hempcrete, Insulation, Particle Board and Paper supplies. We need to fully support manufacturing in these areas and support our Canadian businesses in innovative clean energy technologies.
Tara Lockhart about 2 years ago
Food for thought when we're looking at things on a provincial level:Some provinces have excellent recycling & composting programs while others don't - but the one issue is that each province's program is different. We need to have a uniform program. We need uniform facilities. When it comes to Wind Energy, we should first and foremost use what we create here in Canada and make it affordable.
Brad Jones about 2 years ago
I agree!
Darren Gregory about 2 years ago
In my own advocacy on Environmental concerns, I asked by letter, repeatedly, that any Environmental Assessments conducted towards any projects be conducted fully (LNG, Tar-Sands Expansion via Pipelines, Site-C).Fully, to me, means: A compete Environmental Impacts Assessment, from points of extraction, through to delivery of market.I asked both Catherine McKenna and the BC Environment Minister to provide me with the details of any such assessments conducted relative to these specific projects that we've now seen approved.Neither were willing to answer any queries.I fully agree: We have made commitments in Paris on emissions. If we keep pushing the bar, drawing new lines in the sand, we're sending the world a message that we're not as serious as we were in Paris.None of these projects reflect anything to me except that they grant leadership in BC (The BC Liberals) legacy projects to act as a prize they can hang on their walls to mark their personal tenure.That's not about the Earth, BC, nor is it about the best interests for Canada and Canadians.That's about ego, and need for a prize.We need to work towards greater eco-mentalities in those we employ to act as leadership.
Author Commented Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency about 2 years ago
Thanks for all your comments. Keep them coming!
Ivan Touko about 2 years ago
It would be a huge mistake not to agree with the panel recommendation that the Canadian government leads a federal strategic IA on the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change. If done, every provinces would be required to develop, enforce and implement their own policies and regulations against climate changes that they think will be the most efficient for their province status. All of this would be in collaboration with the federal government meaning that these policies would be reviewed and screened meticulously. The quote by the Multi-interest Advisory Committee highlights exactly why such strategic plan would be important and how much it would aid in having consistency and clarity regarding ways to approach climate changes in each provinces and within Canada. Consistency and clarity will only help to further the effort and the efficiency of the approaches against climate changes. Although the panel recognizes that more-detailed policies are still being developed, they have at least already came up with eight crucial “general” points with the “new model”. More detailed information are definitely needed but at this point I think is already a great concept and step ahead to targets the effects of climate changes.
Jeff Anderson about 2 years ago
Current methods for governing greenhouse gas emissions are grossly ineffective. Per capita, Canada is one of the worst contributors of GHG emissions in the world. Proposed carbon taxes are unlikely to produce much change in emission patterns. The inclusion of climate change in this report is important, but the information contained within the section seems vague and uncertain. GHG sources and sinks need to be better defined and understood. Literature exists, and experts are present at many institutions that could help to create a better understanding of what factors play a part in GHG accumulation. Monitoring and penalization is not enough to have significant impact on Canadian GHG emissions, incentives beyond avoidance of penalties need to be established in order to improve the processes and technologies which produce GHGs. Carbon offsets are popular among industry proponents and have the potential to mitigate some portion of our GHGs but should not be given too much weight should the federally led mechanism become a reality. The goal of the IA should not only be to limit GHG emissions as much as currently possible, but also to promote development of processes and technologies to reduce Canada’s overall GHG impact.
Ashley Tod about 2 years ago
I agree with the idea that the IA process should incorporate a climate change assessment component to federal IA. As we move into the future, one of the greatest risks to the environment is climate change. During the IA process, I agree that monitoring the impacts of climate change on a project or region is very important. Cumulative effects are an inevitable outcome of project development, and taking the time to view these effects and do our best to mitigate them is in the best interest of the planet. What this section fails to address is how these effects will be assessed, and how projects that that are found to contribute to climate change at unacceptable levels will be adapted. Although the idea of incorporating potential release of pollutants into the environment may seem plausible, measuring these releases (eg, CO2, NH4) is extremely difficult. Linking climate change into the IA process is much more complex than demonstrated by the Panel throughout this section, and without adequate measurement/mitigation strategies set in place, the effects of non-point-source and point-source pollution will not be sufficiently accounted for.
Martijn Dieleman about 2 years ago
The concept presented by the panel involving usage IA to support Canada’s efforts to address climate change is something I agree with and believe is a massive step forward. I also agree with the expert panel’s assertion about the need for consistency for climate change assessment, because this is something that is lacking. Although I appreciate the idea of evaluating a project’s contribution to climate change, there appears to be more of a focus on things like GHG emissions, with not mention of other factors contributing to climate change that could arise from a federally assessed project. However, an overall issue I have with this section is that there is very vague language used throughout, which I believe is an indication that this climate change assessment may be much too broad to effectively achieve any specific goals. This vague language shows the need for more discussion and research into the way to assesses climate change impacts within the scope of an impact assessment.
Ian Carter about 2 years ago
The Pan-Canadian Framework will require there to be governmental co-operation so that there can effective assessment and management of the varying projects that take place across Canada. The consistent criteria and methodology to assess a projects contribution to climate change, how climate change may change the environment surrounding the project and the long term sustainability in the future changed environment is a good start that will require there to be setting of these criteria and methods to determine these changes. Recognition of the need to have a consistent approach to determining the effect of a project on climate change is a start but will need for the development of this approach. The strategic IA that establishes the thresholds for GHG emissions based on region, industry or sector may be a good idea, but it would require there to be consideration taken on the full effect of the project as well.
YADVINDER BHARDWAJ about 2 years ago
I strongly agree with the panel's decision to follow the Pan- Canadian Framework for dealing with the future issues related to climate change. It is critical to forming a conventional structure and policies to assess the impact of a project on the climate and mitigate its effects proactively so that the ultimate goal of sustainable development is reached. There is a definite need of outlining a feasible solution to narrow down national emissions rates and providing common grounds to all the federal projects and start regulating the cumulative effectiveness of these projects which could be deteriorating for the future generations.
Abigayle about 2 years ago
I agree that it is important to include climate change in IA’s however, this process will likely be costly and broad. Most of the proposed changes to the EA have focused on streamlining and simplifying the assessment but this addition may add complexity. The complexity arises from the idea that climate impacts are cumulative. Additionally, each provincial/territorial jurisdiction has their own action plans to address climate change. GHG emissions can be measured and thresholds could be implemented which could significantly help reach the federal commitment to reducing GHG emissions. I do like the idea of aligning IA’s with the Pan-Canadian framework because it unifies the federal goals for industry. I agree this could also ensure new developments align with Canada’s commitments and to understand how impacts may change over time. This awareness could be important regarding mitigation. As impacts change so could the mitigation plans. This is an important issue to mention regarding IA’s however, this section could have been longer by developing how emissions would be measured and whether projects experiencing environmental changes would be required to mitigate differently. It would have also been interesting to see how the Panel plans to apply this concept in legislation.
Emily W about 2 years ago
As climate change is associated with impacts on the entire globe, I fully agree with the recommendation to address this major issue in IA. It is an action in the right direction towards reducing Canada’s emission levels. The point that I especially support from the new model is evaluating impacts on carbon sinks. While GHG emissions remain critical to climate change, they should not be the only focus. Additionally, it is mentioned that GHG “thresholds and targets ‘could’ then be made binding in project IA”. I believe that the thresholds and targets should be binding. As demonstrated by the 1999 Oldman River Dam case study, legally binding requirements in IA are crucial. While the Panel mentions the need for “national consistency” with assessing climate change in, at the same time we should not forget that the impacts of climate change are inconsistent and “disproportionally felt by people”.
Arynn about 2 years ago
It is important to acknowledge that emissions from development project are contributing to the cumulative effects propelling Climate Change. I agree with the recommendation by the Panel to incorporated climate change into IA, and with the Panel’s desire to aligned IA with the Pan-Canadian framework. However, further explanations detailing how to accurately measure predict emission is needed. I’m not confident that the panel is outlining a feasible solution to reduce national emissions through IA. Creating a baseline by studying the impacts of climate change that could affect the migration pattern of caribou that are hunting by Indigenous groups, only further demonstrates how complex the cumulative impacts will be to assess. Making the “urgent national need for clarity and consistency” a goal that will take far more time to develop, then other aspect of IA. Furthermore, if strategic IA will be focused on mitigation, will adaptive measure be taken for existing project that continue to contribute to national emission levels?
Amber Longacre about 2 years ago
I think it is an important development to assess our contributions from industry to climate change, but this needs a lot more work and information to be effectively implemented. This section discussing about the abilities of acquiring and assessing our GHG emissions, but offers few solutions to the problem. If new technologies are developed and regulations are put into place, replacing all old infrastructure will come at a huge cost, will this be feasible? This point is also reliant upon new technologies and advancements, but we currently have limited understanding of climate change and can be seen as a rather vague phase. If we are hoping to include this in the new IA process it will take a lot of collaboration and planning to be effective. I think this is a great future goal of the IA process, but for current time it may be difficult to effectively incorporate it into IA’s.
Kristina about 2 years ago
Incorporating climate change into our federal IA is important and should be considered, as it would help boost Canada’s social license both within itself and among other countries around the world. This proposal mentions establishing thresholds and targets for GHG emissions for particular sectors or regions, so would this include the possibility of implementing emissions trading between industries in the same region in order to meet the thresholds? While the idea of implementing industrial effects on climate change into our IAs is the next step in environmental responsibility, I believe there is not enough clarity in Canada’s economic policies regarding GHGs to efficiently include it within the IA.
Jordan about 2 years ago
I agree that a standard for monitoring a projects GHG emissions and how it contributes to climate change is an important step towards reducing any given projects effects on the environment. However I think it is important to look beyond each individual project for something with such a wide area of effect like climate change. I think that a standard to monitor all projects and their collective emissions and their collective effects on climate change is important for the future and could help contribute to understanding climate change and its effects as a whole. I know this is contrary to the one project one assessment theme that is important with this renewal process but I firmly believe that climate change is a group problem and should be looked at as a group to help understand how a project influences climate change and mitigate its effects.
Shawn about 2 years ago
I agree that projects need to be assessed for their contributions to climate change by looking at their effects on greenhouse gas production, carbon sinks etc. However this section did not talk about what actions would be taken to mitigate or reduce the effects of the project on climate change. It suggests that this IA will provide necessary baseline information to asses the cumulative impacts of a project in combination with climate change but it does not mention what will happen if the project is deemed to have significant contributions to climate change. I also think we could provide incentives to companies to reduce climate change. For example if they avoid peatlands or reclaim the area to a successful forest then there could be certifications of some kind, showing the company is an environmentally friendly one.
Chris Arbter about 2 years ago
I believe a key component is missing from project EA. This missing component is indirect and cumulative impacts caused from GHG emissions. Yes, it may be true that a vast majority of GHG comes as point-source pollution; however, non-point-source pollutants that accumulate over time can be just as detrimental if not worse for the environment as time moves on. I agree with the Pan-Canadian Framework concerning provinces designing their own policies. This allows provincial government and groups the freedom to make changes that they believe will be most effective and pertain most to their own needs. Rather than having one policy to implement across the country, which may act as a detriment or perhaps not even pertain to some Provinces. In addition, cooperation between jurisdictions may increase the trust of the public seeing as members from all levels of the government and community may be allowed to have their say in what effects the place in which they live. I agree and wholeheartedly support the panel’s recommendation of IA’s leading Clean Growth throughout the country. As time moves on, I believe climate change is an issue that will only worsen if nothing is done. Federal priorities on climate change are certainly a step in the right direction.
Jennifer Weeks about 2 years ago
I agree that climate change needs a federal impact assessment in order to create regulations and guidelines that provinces can follow to adhere to climate change goals. It is important to predict the indirect effects that a project in operation could have on climate change due to pollution emitted. However, dealing with climate change at the source is extremely important and is not mentioned in this section. The IA should address what the best management practices that are available to reduce pollution from the project are. Also, the IA should address old projects since approval processes are fluid and always changing based on public opinion, including Indigenous peoples. Projects should be held to today’s climatic standards and goals. Federal government should be providing incentives to use modern technologies and decrease other pollutants besides CO2 such as methane, water vapour and H2S.
Shelby Feniak about 2 years ago
I think that using IAs to assist with Canada’s goal of lowered GHG emissions is a great idea. Not only will this ensure that there are regulations regarding emission targets, it also encourages co-operation between the federal and provincial governments which will allow IAs to be conducted more efficiently. It is incredibly important to consider how climate change will both effect and be effected by the approval of certain projects. It will also be useful to obtain insight into Indigenous knowledge on this subject. Even though there are difficulties in gathering data regarding emissions, it is great to see this topic acknowledged by the Panel.
Caitlin Herrick about 2 years ago
Since climate change is one of the worlds greatest concerns in my opinion, I agree with the fact that it must be assessed and incorporated into the IA in a more meaningful way. The criteria and methodologies that must be established to provide consistency would provide great benefit to understanding the effects and impacts. I especially like how the panel explained that using climate change information in an IA will allow scientists and researchers better understand how impacts can change or worsen over time. I think this I critical knowledge to obtain, as large-scale projects will be in construction and operation for decades.
Rachael Melenka about 2 years ago
I believe the IA process should definitely include a climate change assessment. Consultation with the Pan-Canada Framework is a good start in developing the guidelines and analysis needed to determine the impacts of a project to climate change. The points on evaluation climate change impacts from a project in the new model of IA proposed are sufficient, and a good basis to move forward with. However, the cumulative effects that the project will have and may have in the future towards climate change should be implemented in the IA. Further research and discussion should be done on how to efficiently assess these effects.
Tayla Lazenby about 2 years ago
I think that the Panel was correct in identifying that both the effects projects may have on climate change as well as the cumulative effects of projects and climate change is imperative. I agree that in order for Canada to combat climate change it must be involved within the IA process. However, like stated by the Panel, consistency is crucial as both identifying aspects to assess and the assessment of the aspects can be subjective or moving targets. I like that they have a list of criteria to be assess and suggest consistent methods for sampling and decisions based on the sustainability pillars. I feel that timelines will need to be established to determine how far into the future to predict impacts on both the environmental and human wellness. Also a consistent form of predicting the future changes will need to be created to increase the validity of predictions and help inform mitigation measure that need to be in place.
Janelle Goodine about 2 years ago
3.7 I appreciate that Canada’s commitment to promote various initiatives has led to develop a priority to reduce emissions and to adapt to changing environmental conditions while facing the challenge that is climate change. I think it is important to enforce a system where main environmental concerns are addressed to reduce a projects residual cumulative impacts. In addition, I do not think that measuring a project’s direct GHG emissions is enough to capture the full extent of a projects significance on the environment. The strategic IA should consider other factors that may contribute to climate change as well, for example, the destruction of peatlands releases CO2 into the atmosphere. I agreed with the participants that admitted that assessing the cumulative impacts on climate change is hard to determine and thus mitigation measures are not easy to develop. As a result, I agree that a federal strategic IA should be implemented on the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change however, given the fact that there is a blurred line between the environmental impacts that should be associated with climate change and what should be measured while conducting an IA, I think enforcing a framework related to this will be challenging.
Lars about 2 years ago
The idea of including climate change within an IA would help align the process with Canada’s goals to combat climate change as the panel mentions. It would also be a good platform to unify climate change criteria and measurement practices as the panel mentioned. However, it may be difficult for some proponents to directly quantify how their project will influence climate change. Direct sources of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses from projects such as refineries are simple to assess. Furthermore, many of these baseline data may have already been collected to demonstrate the projects effects on biophysical components such as air quality. The difficulty comes with projects such as creating seismic lines which don’t directly emit greenhouse gases aside from the emissions produced by equipment. It may be difficult and very costly for proponents to quantify indirect sources such as the removal of trees or drying of peat in some of the wetland areas.
Julie Jodoin about 2 years ago
It is very promising to see that climate change is now being considered in impact assessments, and this section very well describes the challenges that come with these considerations in IAs. While the creation of guidelines to assess a project’s impacts on climate change is a daunting task, it will be necessary in order to properly understand the cumulative impacts of multiple projects in a region. I agree with the idea that greenhouse gas emission thresholds should be implemented, but I think that this should be specified on a project-specific basis. This section seems vague about this concept, but even within a certain sector or industry, projects of different scales should not be held to the exact same standard. Nonetheless, it is encouraging to see that IAs will take a more proactive approach to mitigating climate change in the future.
Casi Bouchie about 2 years ago
As an industrialized nation, Canada has an ethical obligation to reduce emissions in order to decrease the adverse effects of climate change being felt globally. While I am pleased to see that climate change is being taken into account for IA, I do have a number of concerns. Firstly, modelling on the effects of climate change should be explicitly required to consider more than a project’s GHG emissions. Attention to aspects of carbon sequestration, such as the effects of deforestation and loss of peatlands within the project footprint, are essential to producing accurate projections of future impacts. Secondly, establishing emission thresholds related to a certain region does little to reduce the cumulative impacts of non-point source pollutants contributing to climate change. It is more appropriate to determine binding targets for individual projects as well as an overall national threshold for each industry. I also have substantial concern about the cumulative effects of small projects not requiring a provincial EA on national emissions goals. While it is important for provinces/territories to retain some autonomy on decision-making, I believe that the federal government should develop and legislate consistent minimum standards for assessing the climate change impacts of projects under provincial/territorial jurisdiction.
Haley Quadros about 2 years ago
This section does a good job of addressing the complications of considering issues of climate change during the IA process. To this extent, they’ve suggested establishing thresholds and targets for emissions to bring industry sectors into Canada’s climate commitments. This suggestion is ambitious and hasn’t been thought out properly. Exactly how do they intend to hold industry to these thresholds? Will it be akin to a carbon credit system? This idea has merit but it isn’t developed enough to include as a solution. The same can be said for assessing changing project impacts due to climate change. Predicting the impacts of a project on a regional scale is difficult as is, the inclusion of climate change considerations will only add to this complexity. There is a reason that including climate change considerations in IA is difficult, and this section has done nothing to propose realistic and feasible solutions.
KendraR about 2 years ago
Including climate change within Impact Assessments is necessary and will be more important in future years. I agree with the panel that it would be in the best interest to have a federal framework that looks at direct GHC emissions and can be implemented to a variety of frameworks. The IA states that "without clear direction [and government cooperation], it will be difficult to meet reduction targets." I certainly agree with this and I think the IA needs to focus on the establishment of thresholds and targets sooner than later. Although climate change is a broad topic and challenging to measure, the federal government should emphasize the importance of dealing with climate change more than they have. The panel suggests future improvement on federal regional projects when they should be implementing targets now and creating agreements with provincial jurisdiction to meet these targets presently.
Jennifer Buss about 2 years ago
The Pan-Canadian Framework on Climate Change can be very vague in terms of actual methods that a province or sector can take to adapt and mitigate the affects of climate change. That’s why having a strategic IA done on this framework is a great idea. The mining and energy sectors make up most of Canada’s emissions, so it makes sense that before approving new projects, we look into how they will affect climate change. That being said, I think it may be harder to standardize a process to determine the impact a project will have on climate change and vice versa. We still do not fully understand climate change and climate change modeling and it will take some more research to be able to look at these things at such a small scale.
Erin about 2 years ago
I agree with the panel’s decision to assess a projects contribution to climate change. I think the assessment will force people to be more aware of the total impacts of the project and may even lead to more environmentally friendly options. I do think that projects now must look long term and consider the sustainability and resiliency of a project of how its environmental effects could be worsened with climate change in the future. I think that this in conjunction with the Pan-Canadian framework this will increase the transparency of the process. I think that this framework will lead to more consistency throughout the industry and ensure that goals and standards are being met. I think it is important that the proponents are being held accountable for all their greenhouse gas emissions.
Jamie G. about 2 years ago
I agree that a project supported or owned by the Federal Government or requiring a Federal IA should have a binding threshold or target GHG emissions, and a consistent approach for evaluating its contributions to climate change. However, the federal government should take responsibility for all GHG emissions from all of their projects around Canada. Federally owned projects’ GHG emissions, like offshore oil, are incorporated into the province or territory’s total GHG emissions where that project is found. This is unfair, especially if a national carbon tax is implemented because another jurisdiction will be penalized instead of the federal government. This would be where I would take away my support for the new Federal IA process, and to gain back my support, a detailed plan on how the federal government will own up to their own GHG emissions will be required.
Claire Merkosky about 2 years ago
Seeing as climate change is a rapidly occurring phenomenon and research on its effects and physicality are constantly evolving, I feel as though a SIA should be conducted regarding climate change policies on a regular basis, for example every five years. While a SIA is not an easy task to conduct, I feel that government climate change initiatives’ clear implementations in project IAs are essential to ensure that Canada maintains our commitment to reducing our contributions to climate change. I also feel that it is essential for project IAs to heavily weight their contributions to climate change and the effects on their project resulting from climate change. In order to continue to maintain up to date standards into the future, I think that climate change policy’s implications for project IAs should be updated often. This would likely have beneficial effects on existing and new projects, due to the update in the monitoring process in that standards can be updated throughout the duration of the project’s operation and mitigation period.
Lauren Erdely about 2 years ago
This section of the report focuses on the incorporation of climate change and the cumulative impacts of proposed projects within the IA process. This is a critical step towards ensuring that large scale and irreversible damage does not continue to degrade ecosystems and the services they provide humans. I appreciate the panels concern regarding these issues and agree that including climate change considerations as part of the strategic IA model will be beneficial. I do however, have concerns with the panel’s suggestion to establish thresholds. While I agree with the need for strict standards in order to enforce climate change impacts due to proposed projects, I foresee potential issues in the future when/should these thresholds be reached or surpassed. It is unlikely that project development and production will cease should the threshold be reached. Therefore, I structure this critique as a series of questions for the panel given the models framework is yet to be developed. (1) How would the panel manage cumulative effects to ensure development and production is in balance with staying below the enforced standard? (2) Given that climate change may worsen projects cumulative effects, how will this framework manage should climate change cause set thresholds to be surpassed sooner? (3) Would flexible thresholds be accepted or does this defeat the purpose of a threshold?
Laura Hjartarson about 2 years ago
Including climate change impacts as part of the environmental assessment is key in addressing overall climate change issues. Building guidelines to monitor the potential impacts a project has on climate change will no doubt be challenging but necessary. This is an important place to focus on the cumulative effects projects may have, as climate change is itself a cumulative impact. It will be difficult to reach climate change goals while continuing to accept proposals for an excess number of projects that are responsible for increasing Canada’s emissions. I agree a Pan-Canadian framework would be a step in the right direction, however it is unclear as to how this would be implemented and I think further recommendations are needed.
Victoria Masquillier about 2 years ago
I think the addition of strategic Impact Assessment to address greenhouse gas emissions, cumulative impacts and possible mitigation of these impacts could be very important as it would offer an opportunity to align practices throughout the country with the stance that the government has taken. The panel mentions that to be able to successfully assess and mitigate a project’s impact, the effects of changing environmental conditions on the impacts of the project must first be understood. It would be interesting to see some more concrete ideas regarding how this will be assessed. These ideas could include things such as models derived from an accumulation of data from baseline assessments and from assessments done after the decommissioning of the projects. Other models such as those created using future climate projections could also be used for these sorts of assessments.
Shannon F about 2 years ago
I agree that climate change is an issue that needs to be addressed. When dealing with projects, this issue must be included in the IA to lower our impact. The obstacle that will be faced for this recommendation is being able to accurately predict the regional impact of the effects of a project on climate change. Since climate change is a global issue, it will be hard to isolate the effects of one project’s contribution in relation to total emissions. However we must make attempts to address this even if the outcomes aren’t certain. Although direct amount connections between projects and climate change have not been made yet, future advancements in technology will bridge the gap. There must be a process in place to ensure we can use this new knowledge as it becomes available.
Raiany Dias de Andrade Silva about 2 years ago
Awareness regarding climate change is increasing in the scientific community. Some authors believe it is necessary to consider the effects of climate change in developments that last more than 20, 50 or 100 years, like the oil sands. These authors defend the argument that the environment is changing fast, ecosystems are disappearing and animal and plant communities are moving towards places they did not occupied before. One of the biggest questions is how climate change will modify environments influenced by big developments and how those developments will influence climate change in the local and regional ecosystems? Considering that information, the panel’s recommendation to address climate change in the IA process is a leading attitude, and is very clever to introduce the matter recommending to establish thresholds and targets for GHG emissions, since the emissions are the main and more certain reasons causing human-induced climate change. Going through a discussion about climate models and reclamation targets would complicate the establishment of the topic in the IA.
Jamie Card about 2 years ago
As climate change is an impact that not only affects Canadians but the entire globe, I am glad that it is being addressed in the Impact Assessment process. I agree that there is a need for more national consistency in assessing climate change. Projects must be assessed on an individual basis regarding their climate change impact as different projects will have different impacts. The Panel suggests that a strategic Impact Assessment is the direction to go regarding including climate change impacts rather than a project Impact Assessment and I agree. This could work to ensure that any new projects developed in certain regions must follow the goals set by Canada regarding GHG emissions. Although the panel touched on this briefly with the caribou hunting example, I believe that cumulative effects should be addressed more thoroughly in this section. I would like to see specifically how the Panel believes cumulative effects of individual projects can be assessed regarding climate change and what that looks like in practice.
Ashley Sarauer about 2 years ago
3.7 In my opinion, increasing the accountability for climate change objectives is of upmost importance, as climate change imposes significant environmental, economic and social costs. In order to follow through with our commitments to reduce GHG emissions, the government needs to align climate objectives with the projects they are approving. Assessing projects based on their direct GHG emission contributions allows us to measurably chart our progress (or digress) in terms of curbing emissions. Unfortunately, due to the divergent nature of climate change jurisdiction, a large portion of the jurisdictional power to assess and mitigate emissions lies in the hands of the provinces. Due to this limitation, the federal government’s main suggestion includes consistency in modeling and methodology in terms of GHG contribution and project assessment. I would argue that this is not enough. Handing off climate change responsibility to the provinces only serves to reinforce a race-to-the-bottom effect in terms of regulatory standards. I genuinely believe the federal government should take a stricter regulatory approach so that climate change commitments have a chance of being realized.
Bradley Wong about 2 years ago
The addition of what contributes to climate change in an IA is an excellent way to educate both the public and corporations regarding how much damage is being done to the environment through the creation of their project. This is not to say that this is all bad however as it may lead to innovations and discoveries that can potentially reduce these effects. This in tandem with the creation of the Pan-Canadian Framework can be used in order to further increase the inclusiveness of the issue. Instead of having it be set out as separate due to different regions, this should make it more consistent. As with some of the other propositions, having everything set in one organization can increase the transparency of how this would function to people who may not have been able to do so. One can also remember that the goals of the IAs are to be working around the pillars of sustainability. By having this come into fruition it may help maintain those pillars while combating climate change.
Jessica Newman about 2 years ago
I believe that addressing climate change in the IA is encouraging to see. I think that the panel is correct when they say that IA is not the venue to debate policy issues regarding climate change however, they as mentioned should be setting the standards for monitoring and evaluating the projects contributions to climate change. It is important to understand the current and future impacts that a project may and do have on the environment which are at a regional, national and global level. I think that it is the IAs responsibility to determine effective and proficient guidelines for monitoring industrial effluents into the environment as a result of the project. This will ensure consistency across projects and ensure that standards are being met at a national level. With climate change being a global issue and industrial inputs affecting large scales, a strategic IA should have thresholds for regions aligned with targets in the Pan-Canadian framework to reduce GHGs and minimize cumulative impacts from industry. With having consistency there is the ability to hold proponents accountable in regards to climate change contributions.
Erin Kohler about 2 years ago
In this section the Panel recommends that The Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change be used to provide direction in IA. However the Framework does not include all provinces. Manitoba and Saskatchewan decided not to sign the Framework, which leaves a large part of Canada excluded from this important policy. Using the Framework as the basis for the new IA strategy on climate change would be a strong first step to addressing the need for climate change mitigation to be included in the IA process if every province and territory had decided to be a part of it. There is a need for an overarching framework or policy to be implemented that will include all jurisdictions in Canada, in order to a nationally representative climate change plan. It is mentioned in this section that a unique Pan-Canadian IA will be required and it is extremely important that when this gets developed all jurisdictions are included and each province or territories’ needs are properly addressed.
Thomas Milligan about 2 years ago
I agree that there needs to be better consistency and clarity in how to consider climate change in regional and project IAs. It is also important to acknowledge the difficulty in accurately predicting the full effects of climate change, which is why the precautionary principle should be applied to regional and project IAs. However, this may increase time and costs during the study phases of IAs. Working closely with experts, indigenous groups, and communities could improve this process.Determining the type of cumulative impacts (linear additive, exponential, antagonistic, and discontinuous) a project may contribute to, will help in aligning projects with Canada’s climate change commitments.Utilizing different information gathering and data organizing tools will help proponents and governments better understand the cumulative impacts of a project and climate change.Like the panel suggests, providing direction on how to implement the framework will help in accomplishing the goals. Delegating responsibilities to provincial governments, or developing equivalency agreements with those governments, regarding the Pan-Canadian Framework could allow for better understanding and implementation of climate change mitigation activities.
Amelia Tobin about 2 years ago
Measuring the effects of one project on climate change will be incredibly difficult due to the fact that there are already so many industries doing similar projects. Would it be a measure of the collective or cumulative impacts of the approved projects combined with already existing projects? Although it would be great to measure climate change and base an IA decision on this impact, it is a very difficult thing to distinguish from separate projects, especially as it is something that should potentially be measured globally. Canada is not the only country affecting the climate. If there was a way to give a measure to the climate change impact rating and only lower impact projects get approved, that could be one way to alleviate the problem.
Melanie de Kappelle about 2 years ago
The theme for this section of the report is that IAs should be used as a tool to help Canada achieve targets laid out in the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change. As a student in conservation biology, I support this objective. The Panel outlines issues with this objective (such as air pollution often being non point-source), yet still advocates for incorporating Climate Change Impact mitigation in the IA processes. I admire that The Panel admitted to issues associated to Climate Change mitigation, as this brings a more realistic approach to the new goal. This being said, I wonder how much support this initiative will be granted, given that proponents feel the federal IA process is nuanced enough as is. The Panel clarifies that it is currently unclear exactly how this incorporation will occur. The recommendation is to use the proposed model of strategic IA (from Section 3.6) to provide direction on how to implement the Pan-Canadain Framework into future federal and regional IAs. I believe this is a good start; this will create a well-rounded basis for how to effectively and realistically merge targets outlined in the Pan-Canadian framework and the IA process.
Grayson Wagner about 2 years ago
I wholeheartedly agree with the panel's recommendation to lead a federal strategic IA on the Pan-Canadian Framework. With coming changes in terms of a federal carbon tax and an encouragement of clean and sustainable technologies, it sounds like there will soon be some tangible progress in terms of actions addressing global climate change. I believe this is as important of an issue as clean water and air, as it has such a potential to affect those who have had nothing to do with it. I am encouraged that there is a section dedicated to this topic. It will be no small task though to address this topic, as a lot of the strategic IA is said by the panel to be predictive in terms of the future effects of climate change. This also complicates the subject of which groups may be directly affected by a project, as any greenhouse gas emission could be seen as contributing to the problem. Again, I am very encouraged that climate change is being addressed, but as for practical application of the Pan-Canadian Framework, it will not be without strong controversy. I hope that this will not dissuade future governments from continuing to address this.
Nicholas Brown about 2 years ago
The Panel’s recommendations regarding climate change are agreeable, both on a specific project scale, as well as a regional one. Furthermore, the Panel has made an ideal recommendation with regards to assessing not only the present-day impacts of a project or group of projects, but also how those impacts may change over time as climate change progresses. However, accuracy and precision in regards to prediction of climate change effects may be an issue down the road, and it is therefore recommended that the Panel consider including a multiple-contingency analysis of climate change impacts on both a single- and multi-project scale, utilizing process-based modelling. This would allow for more accurate and precise predictions to be made across a wider variety of climate-change scenarios, therefore allowing for the development of better mitigation and adaptation procedures. In addition, this would enhance our ability to uphold the five pillars of sustainability in a timely manner, given the urgency of the need to consider climate change impacts to Canada in the future.