Perspectives from 2037-Can environmental impact assessment be the solution for an early consideration of climate change-related impacts?
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Consideration of climate change in environmental impact assessment (EIA) is a rather novel topic, which became partly mandatory through the revised EU Directive on EIA. Through a mixed-methods approach involving key-actors from EIA practice, decision making and climate adaptation planning, this study presents a transdisciplinary point of view on barriers and opportunities to tackle climate change adaptation in the environmental assessment of large-scale projects. It is based on both a retrospective ex-post evaluation of existing practices in Austria and Germany as well as prescriptive examination and development of outcomes for practice through the development of a climate-fit toolkit that supports the incorporation of climate change impacts into EIAs. The scenario analysis applied with a backcasting approach provided the opportunity to look beyond limitations related to legal compliance and partly lack of data identified by previous research. Three scenario narratives were elaborated based on nine key impact factors based on literature review, content analysis of EIA documents and interviews with EIA actors. The groups of actors carried out a prioritization of actions towards consideration of climate change in EIA. Finally, the actors were involved in co-production of an online tool-kit for Austrian and German EIA practice.