Revised Draft Guidance for Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Climate Change Impacts

Dec 31, 2014 | News & Views, What's New

Draft Guidance for Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Climate Change Impacts

On Dec. 18, 2014, the U.S. Council on Environmental Quality
released revised draft guidance for public comment that describes how federal departments
and agencies should consider the effects of greenhouse gas emissions and
climate change in their National Environmental Policy Act reviews.
The revised draft guidance supersedes the draft greenhouse gas and
climate change guidance released by CEQ in February 2010. This guidance
explains that agencies should consider the potential effects of a proposed
action on climate change, as indicated by its estimated greenhouse gas
emissions, and the implications of climate change for the environmental effects
of a proposed action. The guidance also emphasizes that agency analyses should
be commensurate with projected greenhouse gas emissions and climate impacts,
and should employ appropriate quantitative or qualitative analytical methods to
ensure useful information is available to inform the public and the
decision-making process in distinguishing between alternatives and mitigations.
It recommends that agencies consider 25,000 metric tons of carbon
dioxide equivalent emissions on an annual basis as a reference point below
which a quantitative analysis of greenhouse gas is not recommended unless it is
easily accomplished based on available tools and data. Unlike the 2010 draft
guidance, the revised draft guidance applies to all proposed federal agency
actions, including land and resource management actions. It reflects CEQ’s consideration
of comments received on the 2010 draft guidance in addition to other federal
agency and affected stakeholder input. It does not create new or additional regulatory
requirements. It instructs agencies on how to address the greenhouse gas emissions
from and the effects of climate change on their proposed actions within the
existing NEPA regulatory framework. CEQ is soliciting public comment on this
revised draft guidance for 60 days.