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LCA and Input-Output Analysis: GDI Experience


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Presentation of Christopher Weber for the "Workshop Virtual Sugarcane Biorefinery" …

Presentation of Christopher Weber for the "Workshop Virtual Sugarcane Biorefinery"

Apresentação de Christopher Weber realizada no "Workshop Virtual Sugarcane Biorefinery "

Date / Data : Aug 13 - 14th 2009/ 13 e 14 de agosto de 2009
Place / Local: ABTLus, Campinas, Brazil
Event Website / Website do evento:

Published in: Technology

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  • 1. LCA and Input-Output Analysis: GDI Experience Christopher Weber Asst. Research Professor, Green Design Institute Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA USA
  • 2. Outline Why Life Cycle? Driving feature: Greenhouse Gas Assessments Types of Life Cycle Assessment: strengths and weaknesses  Process LCA  Input-Output Analysis (IO-LCA)  examples of different types of assessments from our lab General thoughts on sustainability accounting for biofuels Summary
  • 3. LCA in Decision-making: Why and why not? Recent interest in including life cycle info in policy and decision-making LCA has much to offer for policy  Comparative assessments can often only be done reasonably at life cycle level (ex: corn ethanol)  Supply chains are important for impacts of policy (ie, implications of carbon pricing) However . . . LCA is complicated!  To compare between products, completeness, specificity, and comparability all very important  Uncertainty and variability—how to deal? 3
  • 4. An example of the problem Not including indirect land use change! Farrell et al (2006) in Science
  • 5. Policies involving Carbon Footprinting US and EU considering border tariffs on embodied CO2 as protection for heavy industry Low Carbon Fuel Standard (California) and Renewable Fuels Standard (US, EISA 2007)  Both contain standards written in life cycle terms, controversial  Indirect Land Use Change (iLUC) particularly controversial Carbon labeling taking hold in several markets  Led by large retailers (W-M, Tesco) for consumer products in US and UK  Japan, Germany, Sweden, California have all considered national/state policies All assume a single answer, no uncertainty/variability
  • 6. The Big Driver: Greenhouse Gas Accountingaka carbon footprinting Geographical Project Accounting Inventories by country (CDM, WRI/WBCSD) (UNFCCC) Global GHG Emissions Emissions by product Emissions by company (ISO, BSI, (WRI/WBCSD) WRI/WBCSD)
  • 7. Current Happenings in Carbon Footprinting New and Developing standards work  PAS 2050—British Standards and Carbon Trust UK  ISO 14025 series—standards for type III environmental declarations  WRI/WBCSD developing product and supply chain standards (GDI highly involved) Carbon Disclosure Project, Climate Registry, and voluntary markets continue to grow EU ETS trading strong and current debates about phase III goals (20% RPS, 20% CO2 reduction by 2020)
  • 8. Product Accounting LOTS of people working on this  ISO 14044 series for LCA (more than just GHG)  Carbon Trust/BSI: PAS 2050  ISO 14025: Environmental Product Declarations  Coming ISO Standard on product accounting (2011)  Now WRI/WBCSD GHG Protocol writing one  ALL in addition to policy bodies (CARB, EPA, govts) Overall, new standards look similar to ISO 14044 but more specific for GHGs
  • 9. Product Accounting Issues System Boundary selection—use of PLCA vs. matrix PCLA vs. HLCA Capital equipment accounting Allocation of co-products: attributional vs. consequential End of Life accounting—esp recycling Land Use Change—direct vs. indirect Uncertainty and Variability analysis—require? How? Primary vs. secondary data requirements Geographic and Temporal averaging
  • 10. Types of LCAs: Strengths andWeaknesses in GDI’s experience
  • 11. Types of Life Cycle Assessments What is purpose of Analysis?  Tool use should depend on purpose of analysis  LCA in policy, internal corporate use, public reporting, etc. all require different levels of precision  In any LCA, balance between primary data, secondary data, and different levels of data quality General Classes of Analyses  Process LCA—ISO 14044, PAS 2050, etc.  Input-output analysis—economic tool developed in 1950’s for top-down economic modeling  Hybrid LCA—Combination of strengths of both approaches
  • 12. Advantages of Process vs. IO Conventional PLCA:  Process and product specific  Detailed improvement and scenario analysis  Analysis of existing and future products  Easy to link to functional unit IOA  Economy-wide impacts (complete system boundary)  Publicly available data, reproducible results  Data available on every commodity
  • 13. Disadvantages of Process vs. IO Conventional PLCA:  Subjective System Boundary  Can take substantial time and money  Proprietary data issues  Substantial uncertainty in many numbers IOA  Aggregation  Price uncertainty (linking to functional unit difficult)  Data time issues (5 years to obtain typical)  Uncertainty in data
  • 14. In summary. . . Process LCA  Advantages: Specific process-level data, functional units easy  Disadvantages: Arbitrary System Boundaries, Proprietary data, can take substantial time and money  Typical uses: product footprints, phys/chem process analysis, policy and disclosure-level comparisons Input-Output Analysis  Advantages: Fast, Complete, can model product and social impacts  Disadvantages: Aggregation, Upfront learning, Functional units difficult  Typical uses: large-scale analyses of many products/services, sustainable consumption research, structural economics
  • 15. Current Hierarchy: GHGP Data Quality Tree
  • 16. Examples and Experience in PLCA and IOA
  • 17. Examples: GDI Process LCACO2 SO2 LocalNOx CO2 – US CO2 Electricity uncertainty in the US
  • 18. Examples: GDI Input-output analysis Total consumption by US households Education Health Communications Clothing/Footwear Mis Goods/Services DirectCO2 Rec/Culture CO2 Utilities CH4 N2O Furnish,Equip,Maint HFCs Housing PrivateTransport AlcBev,Tobacco Food/NalcBev 0,0 1,0 2,0 3,0 4,0 5,0 6,0 7,0 8,0 ton CO2e/cap-yr
  • 19. Examples: GDI Input-output analysis Embodied CO2 in global trade: Annex B vs. non-B
  • 20. Examples: GDI Input-output analysis Production and Consumption-based US Land use
  • 21. Examples: GDI Hybrid LCA
  • 22. LCA and IOA in biofuel sustainabilityassessment Process LCA has the specificity necessary to analyze:  Different production pathways  Different feedstocks IOA still may have something to offer  Land use—huge issue in LCA/IOA today  Socioeconomic impacts:  economic production related to infrastructure investment and policy decisions  Job creation Both methods have strengths to exploit for sustainability analysis
  • 23. Questions Contact: