Capacity building and co-creation – mainstreaming climate change adaptation of large scale infrastructure planning through environmental impact assessment

16:15 Tuesday 28 May


Room S8


Alexandra Jiricka-PüŸrrer (Austria) 1; Sonja Vöšller (Austria) 2; Markus Leitner (Austria) 2; Eva Margelik (Austria) 2; Thomas Wachter (Austria) 3

1 - Universtity of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna; 2 - Environment Agency Austria; 3 - Büro für Umweltplanung Dr. Wachter

Climate change impacts pose a serious challenge to the precautionary planning of large scale projects and the assessment of impacts on the environment surrounding the project. Providing support to incorporating climate change impacts and adaptation into planning and development of large-scale infrastructure projects is facilitated by a large variety of international and national guidance (e.g. Bles et al. 2015; Department of Transport 2014; Dallhammer et al. 2015) but still connected with challenge as several studies and reports point out (Larsen 2014; Wachter et al. 2017; Boyle et al. 2013, EC 2013).

A number of guidance documents and studies show that Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) could provide a good entry point to incorporate considerations of CC impacts and adaptation into large-scale project planning. In 2014 the European Union introduced climate change adaptation into the new EIA regulation (2014/52/EU), aiming to foster mainstreaming of climate change. Since May 2017, both climate change mitigation and adaptation should be considered in the EIA in EU member states.

This presentation highlights results of a research project aiming to develop recommendations for possible mainstreaming of CC into EIA based on a transdisciplanary process. In an actors-based participatory approach several levels of ‘knowledge brokerage’ were undertaken. The different formats which implied diverse levels of participation (knowledge brokerage) proved to be beneficial for both the exchange of know-how as well as the awareness rising for the consideration of CC impacts and adaptation in EIA (Jiricka-PŸrrer et al. 2018).

This paper discusses specific chances of this brokerage process as well as limitations of mainstreaming CC in environmental and project planning and illustrates the climate adaptation service tool elaborated by the diverse groups of actors jointly with the researchers. The EIAclimatefit-infoplattform guides practitoners through a “directory” allowing to identify the risks for potential climate change impacts at the specific location as well as linked consequences for project planning (climate proofing). The view at the environmental ressources (such as water, soil and human health), subject to EIA, can contribute important information to project planning and in partcular to the development of adapatation measures. However, also the project impacts on the environment can increase (change) due to climate change. In the third step the “EIA climatefit-directory” therefore illustrates changes in the susceptibility of the project environment (environmental issues) and highlights options to minimize these negative impacts through new or modified adaptation or compensation measures as outcome of the EIA.