Climate change the ‘wicked problem’ is continuously imposing significant threat to the nature as whole according to the recent projections (IPCC 2013; Bondeau et al. 2013). This anticipated hazard is unavoidable to some extent though the source of the problem (‘green house gas’ emission) is barred right now (IPCC 2014a). Combination of mitigation (reducing or capturing GHG) and adaptation effort has been suggested both in the short and long term to achieve the complementary advantage (i.e. cost) and to reduce the risk (IPCC 2014a; 2014b).
Transportation, residential and business energy use and industrial sector is the major contributor of global GHG emission (EPA 2013). These three sectors are influenced actively by spatial planning and overarching environmental planning through Strategic Environmental Assessment-‘SEA’ and Environmental Impact Assessment-‘EIA’. This is because the pattern of land use within any area sets the characteristics of the emission from the aforementioned two sectors which is governed largely by SEA in Europe (key contributor in global emission) and industrial emission is ruled through EIA; the two most vital tool of spatial planning for securing the broad environmental goal (Hurlimann and March 2012; Wende et al. 2012). Furthermore, climate risk can be reduced significantly through incorporating adaptation solutions (i.e. drainage, air circulation) in the land use/spatial plan. Indeed, SEA and EIA is acknowledged as the means for the implementation of climate protection within spatial planning and thus can be seen as the appropriate tool for ‘climate prooﬁng’ (Blanco et al. 2009).
The strategic environmental assessment (SEA) procedure is well-grounded to methodically deal climate change adaptation and mitigation in planning and development. This is because climate change is inextricably linked with the objectives of SEA which are – concern for sustainable development and taking into account long-term and cumulative effects of which climate change is a principal example (Posas 2011b). In addition, SEA is usually a more appropriate device for dealing with climate change than EIA. This is due to EIA’s reactive rather than proactive nature. By contrast SEA has the advantages of – addressing climate change earlier in the process than the traditional environmental assessments; relating climate change with other policy endeavours; and shifting the focus on causes instead of only effects (Dalfelt and Næss 1997; cited in Posas 2011b).
In this study the extent of addressing climate change mitigation and adaptation through SEA will be tried to explore based on available literatures, which is very few due to this domains infancy till date. In doing so present context of climate change will be described concisely. Following that, nexus between climate change and SEA will be highlighted based on SEA principles, guidance and best practice manual and empirical...