On August 2, 2016, the U.S. Council on Environmental Quality released their final guidance for Federal Agencies concerning how to consider the impacts of their decisions on climate change in the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) reviews. According to the White House, the final guidance is the result of years of collaboration and feedback from “members of Congress, State Agencies, tribes, corporations, trade associations, and other stakeholders”.
Greenhouse Gas Emissions and the Effects on Climate Change:
The final guidance provides standards which U.S. Federal Agencies must use to describe the implications their actions have on the environment. By “quantifying greenhouse gas emissions when conducting NEPA reviews”, says the White House Council on Environmental Quality, “the increased predictability and certainty will allow decision makers and the public to more fully understand the potential climate impacts of all proposed Federal actions, and in turn, assist agencies in comparing alternatives and considering measures to mitigate the impacts of climate change”.
This final guidance was called for by State, Local and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience’s recommendations to the President and was the culmination of 2010 draft guidance, 2014 revised draft guidance, and the comments and feedback received on both of these documents. It is the Council’s intent that agencies will be able to make informed and transparent decisions about the impacts of climate change associated with their actions through the use of this final guidance.