Drop of water hanging from melting iceberg (© AP Images)
(© AP Images)

Federal agencies should consider the impact of their actions on climate change, the White House said in new guidance.

The guidance is “intended to help agencies make informed and transparent decisions,” according to a White House fact sheet. It also “provides a level of predictability and certainty” because the guidance outlines how federal agencies should quantify greenhouse gas emissions when conducting environmental reviews.

For decades, U.S. agencies have had to consider the environmental effects of federal projects, such as building highways and bridges or drilling on public lands. The new guidance asks federal agencies, for the first time, to quantify projects’ greenhouse gas emissions and to describe the potential impact on climate change.

Rhea Suh, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, called the announcement “a game-changer,” which could alter plans to construct a bridge if it were threatened by rising sea levels. The Sierra Club described it as an “essential new tool for addressing the climate crisis.”