- climate change,
- Paris Agreement,
- strategic assessment,
- project assessment climate policy,
- impact assessment,
Canada is preparing to initiate a challenging, but potentially ground-breaking, strategic assessment on the implications of its climate change mitigation commitments for project assessments. The strategic assessment is immediately needed to provide project-level guidance for decision makers who will be required under new federal legislation to consider the extent to which each assessed project “contributes to sustainability” and “hinders or contributes to” meeting Canada’s climate commitments. However, Canada, like many other countries, has not yet translated its Paris Agreementclimate commitments into an adequate suite of specific policies, pathways, budgets, and other directives for compliance. Consequently, the climate commitments’ strategic assessment will need to play a fully strategic role—in policy development as well as policy interpretation and elaboration for assessment purposes. This paper outlines the key considerations and required steps for a strategic assessment that fills the policy gap between Paris and projects, and develops guidance centred on a suite of tests for evaluating proposed major projects that may have important effects on Canada’s prospects for meeting its climate commitments.