Distance-to-Target Weighting in Life Cycle Impact Assessment Based on Chinese Environmental Policy for the Period 1995-2005 (6 pp)
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- Lin, M., Zhang, S. & Chen, Y. Int J Life Cycle Assessment (2005) 10: 393. doi:10.1065/lca2004.10.185
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Background and Objective
. Values in the known weighting methods in Life Cycle Assessment are mostly founded by the societal systems of developed countries. What source of weights and which weighting methods are reliable for a big developing country like China? The purpose of this paper is to find a possible weighting method and available data that will work well for LCA practices conducted in China. Since government policies and decisions play a leading role in the process of environmental protection in developing countries, the weights derived from political statements may be a consensus by representatives of the public.
'Distance-to-political target' principle is used in this paper to derive weights of five problem-oriented impact categories. The critical policy targets are deduced from the environmental policies issued in the period of the Ninth Five-year (1996-2000) and the Tenth Five-year (2001-2005) Plan for the Development of National Economy and Society of China. Policy targets on two five-year periods are presented and analyzed. Weights are determined by the quotient between the reference levels and target levels of a certain impact category.
Results and Discussion
Since the Tenth Five-year Plan put forward the overall objective to reduce the level of regional pollution by 2005, the weights for AP, EP and POCP for 2000-2005 are more than 1. By comparison between the Ninth Five-year and Tenth Five-year period, the results show that the weights obtained in this paper effectively represent Chinese political environmental priorities in different periods. For the weights derived from China's political targets for the overall period 1995-2005, the rank order of relative importance is ODP>AP>POCP>EP>GWP. They are recommended to the potential users for the broader disparity among the five categories. By comparison with the weights presented by the widespread EDIP method, the result shows that there's a big difference in the relative importance of ozone depletion and global warming.
In conclusion, the weighting factors and rank order of impact categories determined in this study represent the characteristics of the big developing country. The derived weighting set can be helpful to LCA practices of products within the industrial systems of China.