Environmental impact assessments around the world do not meet scientific standards.

Published online
04 Nov 2020
Content type

Singh, G. G. & Lerner, J. & Mach, M. & Murray, C. C. & Ranieri, B. & St-Laurent, G. P. & Wong, J. & Guimaraes, A. & Yunda-Guarin, G. & Satterfield, T. & Chan, K. M. A.

Publication language
USA & UK & Canada & Mexico & Brazil & England & Wales & Australia & New Zealand


This paper reviews the steps taken within Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) to come to conclusions on the significance of environmental impact. Regardless of country, EIA reports often did not consider a broad enough range of impacts and treated actions meant to reduce severity of impacts as effective without evidence. Sometimes, these actions to reduce impact severity were treated as effective even when the description for these actions were ambiguous, and in certain cases it was not clear whether an action would even be carried out. EIAs rarely consider opinions of people affected by developments; that is, those opinions were not reflected in decisions on the projects. Instead, decisions on impact importance were overwhelmingly made by consultants writing the report, and the justification behind these decisions was not clearly described.

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