Integrating Climate Change Factors within China’s Environmental Impact Assessment Legislation: New Challenges and Developments

 

Xiangbai He
PhD Candidate,
University of Western Sydney,
1/52 Station Street, East,
Parramatta, Sydney,
Australia, 2150
cedar1985@gmail.com

 

 

 


 

Climate change and its undeniable impacts must be considered while applying the existing development tools. As a preventative instrument to identify, assess and mitigate the adverse environmental effects of proposed and current undertakings, the incorporation of the impacts of climate change into Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) has been recommended. This article finds that EIA can be more beneficial with a ‘climate change - plan/project - environment’ interaction, where the climate change impacts on a proposed plan/project and the environment are also assessed. In that case, the integration of climate change issues within EIA can improve the resilience of the proposed plan/project. Although difficulties of integrating climate change within EIA are apparent (such as scientific uncertainty, the difficulty of separating climate variability and the interaction between climate change and economic activities), various approaches have been developed to overcome these challenges. Canada’s experience will be used as an example to illustrate how EIA in China can integrate climate change factors. However, given the ineffectiveness of China’s current EIA legislation, significant improvements are imperative to provide climate-friendly and climate-proofing solutions. This article also reveals that integration of climate change does not change the essential steps of EIA, but will inevitably influence some minor steps by accounting for climate change factors.

 

Assessment, China, climate change, Environmental Impact Assessment, identify, integration.

 

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