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Motivators and barriers to incorporating climate change-related health risks in environmental health impact assessment

Climate change presents health risks that must be addressed by both decision-makers and public health researchers. Within the application of Environmental Health Impact Assessment (EHIA), there have been few attempts to incorporate climate change related health risks as an input to the framework. This study used a focus group design to examine the perceptions of government, industry and academic specialists about the suitability of assessing the health consequences of climate change within an EHIA framework. Practitioners expressed concern over a number of factors relating to the current EHIA methodology and the inclusion of climate change-related health risks. These concerns related to the broad scope of issues that would need to be considered, problems with identifying appropriate health indicators, the lack of relevant qualitative information that is currently incorporated in assessment and persistent issues surrounding stakeholder participation.