Summary: This leaflet explains how climate change issues can be considered in strategic environmental assessment (SEA), with particular reference to the requirements of European Directive 2001/42/EC (the "SEA Directive"). It explains what climate change impacts are and how they can be described, predicted and addressed.
Filesize: 406 KB
The Earth’s climate has changed many times in the past in response to natural causes. But it has suddenly changed over the last century or so, with global temperature rises and more extreme weather events.
The world’s leading scientists agree that man-made emissions of greenhouse gases – such as carbon dioxide, produced when fossil fuels are burned, and methane – are partly responsible for these changes. Progressive changes in climate are expected even in the absence of future emissions.
But emissions are expected to rise, so we will have to deal with the increasing effects of climate change. We must also do what we can to minimise future emissions.
The SEA Directive requires authorities to assess the likely significant effects of their plans and programmes on "the environment, including on issues such as biodiversity, population, human health, fauna, flora, soil, water, air, climatic factors, material assets, cultural heritage including architectural and archaeological heritage, landscape and the interrelationship between the above factors”.
These effects should include "secondary, cumulative, synergistic, short, medium and long-term permanent and temporary, positive and negative effects".