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Assessing the Impacts of Climate Change on the Built Environment: A Framework for Environmental Reviews

November 2015

Citation: ELR 11015

Author: Jessica Wentz

Federal agencies are beginning to incorporate descriptions of climate change impacts into environmental reviews for buildings and infrastructure, but there is no consistent methodology for evaluating these impacts and mitigating any foreseeable risks to the project or affected environment. This Article asserts that an assessment of climate-related risks and adaptation options falls within the scope of considerations that should be addressed under the National Environmental Policy Act and similar laws. It concludes with a set of recommended protocols for identifying the impacts of climate change on projects and their affected environment, evaluating physical and environmental risks, and selecting appropriate mitigation measures.

Jessica Wentz is an Associate Director and Postdoctoral Fellow at Columbia Law School’s Sabin Center for Climate Change Law.

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