Climate change should be part of BC’s Environmental Assessment process

The ELC is calling on government to include climate change impacts in BC’s environmental assessment process.

Prepared on behalf of Sierra Club, BC, Blind Spot: The Failure to Consider Climate in British Columbia’s Environmental Assessments, flags profound flaws in the current environmental assessment regime that could actually worsen climate change.

Currently, environmental assessments may consider emissions from trucks operating at a BC coal mine, but they ignore the much bigger problem created when the coal is actually burned in Asia. Assessments also do not seriously consider the problem of climate change impacts when assessing projects like the Petronas LNG proposal, which in itself could make it impossible to meet provincial emissions targets.

Instead, BC should consider greenhouse gases produced when BC fossil fuels are burned outside of the province, and BC greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets should be incorporated when assessing new projects. The report, which was submitted to the BC government today, also suggests the province apply a “climate test” when assessing projects with climate change impacts.

Prepared by ELC Articled Student Erin Gray and former ELC Clinic student Rosanna Adams under the supervision of ELC Legal Director Calvin Sandborn, the report makes six specific recommendations for fundamental reform of BC’s environmental assessments process and urges the province to follow the clear trend of other jurisdictions, such as the European Union, Australia and Washington State, in bringing climate considerations into environmental assessments.


Related Media:

  • Calvin Sandborn interview (2015 Sep 15) CFAX 1070 (at 33:55)