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Strengths and Limitations of Life Cycle Assessment

  • Mary Ann CurranEmail author
Chapter
Part of the LCA Compendium – The Complete World of Life Cycle Assessment book series (LCAC)

Abstract

This chapter discusses strengths and limitations of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) not by linear analysis but by elucidating limitations embedded in strengths. It elaborates perceived and real limitations in LCA methodology grouped by research need, inherent characteristic or modeling choice. So, LCA practice continues to suffer from variations in practice that can result in different LCA results. Some limitations, such as modeling missing impact indicators and making life cycle inventory more readily-available, will be addressed through continued research and development of the tool. Other modeling choice-related limitations, such as matching goal to approach setting a proper functional unit or appropriately scoping the assessment, need to be addressed through continued education and training to assist users in the proper application of the tool. Still other limitations in LCA practice would benefit by the development of harmonized guidance and global agreement by LCA practitioners and modelers.

However, despite these variations, LCA offers a strong environmental tool in the way toward sustainability.

Keywords

Attributional modeling Consequential modeling Data uncertainty Decision making Functional unit Goal and scope definition ISO series of standards 14000 LCA Life cycle assessment Life cycle impact assessment Life cycle inventories Life cycle sustainability assessment Life cycle thinking Midpoint impact categories Modeling Normalisation Risk assessment Scale System boundaries System expansion 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.BAMAC Ltd.CincinnatiUSA

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