Policy Solution

Heat-resilient environmental impact asssessments (EIA)

Mandate

Overview:

Summary: Most Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) do not take impacts on the urban heat island effect into consideration. Governments should incorporate a new development's adverse effects on its surrounding environment in the context of heat (e.g. building mass, increased pedestrian temperatures, greenhouse gas emissions, etc.) in environmental impact assessments.

Implementation: Amend existing EIAs to include heat considerations.

Considerations for Use: To support the transition to an amended EIA, host trainings to educate staff and stakeholders on updated EIA methodologies.

  • Policy Levers: The mechanism municipalities can use to actualize the intervention. These policy levers will likely be used in combination with each other.

    MandateMandates are government regulations that require stakeholders to meet standards through building codes, ordinances, zoning policies, or other regulatory tools.
  • Trigger Points: Opportunities for municipalities to implement risk reduction and preparedness interventions based on the policy lever, building on the United Nations Environment Programme triggers used in the Beating the Heat handbook (2021).

    City planning processesIncludes city initiatives such as the development of climate action plan, pathway to zero-energy, master plan, transit plan, energy mapping etc.
    No-regrets actions (low cost/low effort but substantial benefit)Interventions that are relatively low-cost and low effort (in terms of requisite dependencies) but have substantial environmental and/or social benefits.
  • Intervention Type:
    Planning/Policy
  • Sectors:
    City Administration,

    Impact:

  • Target Beneficiaries:
    Residents
  • Phase of Impact:
    Risk reduction and mitigation
  • Metrics:
    Number of permits that incorporate UHI considerations

Implementation:

  • Intervention Scale:
    City; State/Province
  • Authority and Governance:
    City government; State/provincial government
  • Implementation Timeline:
    Short-term (1-2 Years)
  • Implementation Stakeholders:
    Array
  • Funding Sources:
    Public investment
  • Capacity to Act:
    High

    Benefits:

  • Cost-Benefit:
    Low
  • Public Good:
    Low
  • GHG Reduction:
    N/A
  • Co-benefits (Climate/Environmental):
    N/A
  • Co-benefits (Social):
    N/A