A critical review of the consideration of climate change risks and opportunities in Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs)
Denga, Avhatakali Maxwell
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It is widely acknowledged that the impacts of climate change are likely to be far worse than some people believe possible. Research has shown that our current approach and intervention to combat climate change is hopelessly inadequate. Climate change is a global environmental phenomenon which is not adequately addressed by integrated environmental management and more particularly by environmental impact assessment (EIA). In order to effectively address this challenge, adaptation and mitigation actions at individual, local, national, and international levels are critical. It is argued that EIA is one of the most valuable tools to integrate climate change issues into pre- and post-development decision-making processes. The aim of this research was to critically review the consideration of climate change risks and opportunities in EIAs for housing development in two of Gauteng’s metropolitan areas. The results reveal that climate change risks and opportunities are not considered during EIA. It is evident that there are a number of challenges, and the sternest one is the serious lack of a regulatory framework to mandate a compulsory consideration of climate change issues in the process of EIA. On the other hand, there is a lack of awareness and drive by key stakeholders to ensure that the EIA process identifies, considers, and evaluate the risks and opportunities related to climate change.