Model EIA Protocols
Addressing the Impacts of Climate Change on the Built Environment
As part of our work on environmental impact assessment (EIA) and climate change, the Sabin Center has developed a set of model protocols for addressing the impacts of climate change in environmental impact statements (EISs) and other planning documents.
To inform the development of these protocols, we conducted a comprehensive survey of existing EIA guidelines and federal EISs that address the impact of climate change on proposed projects. We also convened stakeholder workshops to review drafts of the protocols with representatives from federal and state government agencies, EIA consulting firms, environmental NGOs, and academic institutions. Each of the model protocols is accompanied by a report describing key findings from the research underpining the development of the protocol.
This report describes how climate change will affect natural resources in the United States, and explains why consideration of how climate change will affect those resources is necessary in order to fulfill legal requirements under NEPA and other statutes governing the management of these resources. It also presents examples of how climate change has been meaningfully accounted for in environmental review and planning documents. The accompanying protocol contains guidelines for considering the impacts of climate change in environmental reviews as well as other planning documents (e.g., resource management plans and resource assessments).
A standalone version of the natural resource management protocol is available here.
This report includes a copy of the model protocol for buildings and infrastructure, as well as an analysis of: (i) the rationale for integrating climate impact considerations into EIA, (ii) the legal basis for requiring agencies to evaluate climate impacts during reviews conducted under NEPA and other EIA laws, (iii) a survey of existing guidelines for such evaluations, (iv) a survey of existing agency practice, and (v) a summary of topics and case studies discussed at the June 18 stakeholder workshop.
A stand-alone version of the built environment protocol is available here.
- Appendices (Built Environment Protocol)
Appendix A: Informational Resources
Appendix B: Excerpts from Selected EISs
Appendix C: List of EISs Surveyed by the Center
List of EIA Guidelines for Evaluating the Impacts of Climate Change on Projects