Revised Draft Guidance for Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Climate Change Impacts

On December 18, 2014, CEQ released revised draft guidance for public comment that describes how Federal departments and agencies should consider the effects of greenhouse gas emissions and climate change in their NEPA reviews.  The revised draft guidance supersedes the draft greenhouse gas and climate change guidance released by CEQ in February 2010.  This guidance explains that agencies should consider both the potential effects of a proposed action on climate change, as indicated by its estimated greenhouse gas emissions, and the implications of climate change for the environmental effects of a proposed action. The guidance also emphasizes that agency analyses should be commensurate with projected greenhouse gas emissions and climate impacts, and should employ appropriate quantitative or qualitative analytical methods to ensure useful information is available to inform the public and the decision-making process in distinguishing between alternatives and mitigations.  It recommends that agencies consider 25,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions on an annual basis as a reference point below which a quantitative analysis of greenhouse gas is not recommended unless it is easily accomplished based on available tools and data.  Unlike the 2010 draft guidance, the revised draft guidance applies to all proposed Federal agency actions, including land and resource management actions. It reflects CEQ’s consideration of comments received on the 2010 draft guidance in addition to other Federal agency and affected stakeholder input.  It does not create new or additional regulatory requirements.  It instructs agencies on how to address the greenhouse gas emissions from and the effects of climate change on their proposed actions within the existing NEPA regulatory framework. CEQ accepted public comment period on the revised draft guidance until March 25, 2015.