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Curtin University

The capacity for EIA to address climate change

Mitigation of greenhouse gases and adaptation to the possible impacts of climate change have gradually increased in importance in the environmental impact assessment (EIA) process in WA since the late 1990s. This study first traced the history of assessment of climate change mitigation and adaptation in EIA in WA, provides case studies, and considers the constraints that limit the nature and scope of climate change EIA policy, for WA, nationally and internationally. Part of the study involved a survey of EIA practitioners in Australia seeking views on the capacity and potential for EIA (both project EIA and strategic environmental assessment) to address climate change. Mitigation rather than adaptation has been the main focus in EIAs in WA. The almost complete absence of consideration of adaption measures is of concern given the large number of projects that have coastal components. This relatively weak EIA policy position on climate change must be seen within the broader context of very weak National and State governments climate change policy context.

Research team

Dr Garry Middle Curtin University