Other affiliations: National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, University of Tokyo
Bio: Norihiro Itsubo is an academic researcher from Tokyo City University. The author has contributed to research in topics: Life-cycle assessment & Impact assessment. The author has an hindex of 21, co-authored 116 publications receiving 1833 citations. Previous affiliations of Norihiro Itsubo include National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology & University of Tokyo.
Papers published on a yearly basis
TL;DR: In this paper, the authors propose a framework to combine traditional impact assessment methods and damage-oriented methods at the level of human health, natural environment, natural resources and man-made environment.
Abstract: Life Cycle Impact Assessment (LCIA) methods can be grouped into two families: classical methods determining impact category indicators at an intermediate position of the impact pathways (e.g. ozone depletion potentials) and damage-oriented methods aiming at more easily interpretable results in the form of damage indicators at the level of the ultimate societal concern (e.g. human health damage). The Life Cycle Initiative, a joint project between UNEP1 and SETAC2, proposes a comprehensive LCA framework to combine these families of methods. The new framework takes a world-wide perspective, so that LCA will progress towards a tool meeting the needs of both developing and developed countries. By a more precise and broadly agreed description of main framework elements, the Life Cycle Initiative expects to provide a common basis for the further development of mutually consistent impact assessment methods. Inputs to the LCIA midpoint-damage framework are results of Life Cycle Inventory analyses (LCI). Impact pathways connect the LCI results to the midpoint impact categories with the corresponding indicators, as well as to the damage categories at the level of damages to human health, natural environment, natural resources and man-made environment, via damage indicators. Mid-point impact categories simplify the quantification of these impact pathways where various types of emissions or extractions can be aggregated due to their comparable impact mechanisms. Depending on the available scientific information, impact pathways may be further described up to the level of damage categories by quantitative models, observed pathways or merely by qualitative statements. In the latter case, quantitative modelling may stop at mid-point. A given type of emission may exert damaging effects on multiple damage categories, so that a corresponding number of impact pathways is required. Correspondingly, a given damage category may be affected jointly by various types of emissions or extractions. It is therefore an important task of the Life Cycle Initiative to carefully select damage indicators. The content of the midpoint and of the damage categories is clearly defined, and proposals are made on how to express the extent of environmental damage by suitable indicator quantities. The present framework will offer the practitioner the choice to use either midpoint or damage indicators, depending on modelling uncertainty and increase in results interpretability. Due to the collaboration of acknowledged specialists in environmental processes and LCIA around the globe, it is expected that - after a few years of effort - the task forces of the Life Cycle Initiative will provide consistent and operational sets of methods and factors for LCIA in the future.
TL;DR: In this article, an economic valuation and a dimensionless index were used for the life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) of products, and the method enables the authors to provide two types of assessment results.
Abstract: Background Many types of weighting methods, which have integrated the various environmental impacts that are used for life-cycle impact assessment (LCIA), were proposed with the aim of developing the methodology as a useful information resource for decision making, such as in the selection of products. Economic valuation indexes, in particular, have attracted attention, as their assessment results are easy to understand and can be applied in conjunction with other assessment tools, including life-cycle costing (LCC) and environmental accounting. Conjoint analysis has been widely used in market research, and has recently been applied to research in environmental economics. The method enables us to provide two types of assessment results; an economic valuation and a dimensionless index. This method is therefore expected to contribute greatly to increasing the level of research into weighting methodology, in which an international consensus has yet to be established. Conjoint analysis, however, has not previously been applied to LCIA.
École Polytechnique de Montréal1, United States Environmental Protection Agency2, Food and Agriculture Organization3, Goethe University Frankfurt4, World Resources Institute5, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research6, Qantas7, Kogakuin University8, Tokyo City University9, National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology10, Wageningen University and Research Centre11, Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation12, Nestlé13, University of Tsukuba14, Tokyo Institute of Technology15, ETH Zurich16
TL;DR: The WULCA group, active since 2007 on Water Use in LCA, commenced the development of consensus-based indicators in January 2014 as mentioned in this paper, which covers human health, ecosystem quality, and a stress-based indicator.
Abstract: Purpose The WULCA group, active since 2007 on Water Use in LCA, commenced the development of consensus-based indicators in January 2014. This activity is planned to last 2 years and covers human health, ecosystem quality, and a stress-based indicator. This latter encompasses potential deprivation of both ecosystem and human, hence aiming to represent potential impacts more comprehensively than any other available LCA-oriented method assessing the “water scarcity footprint” (ISO 2014).
TL;DR: In this article, the authors proposed a model for weighting renewable water resources and presented a case study assessing water scarcity footprints as indicators of the potential impacts of water use based on a life cycle impact assessment (LCIA).
Abstract: Water resources have uneven distributions over time, space, and source; thus, potential impacts related to water use should be evaluated by determining the differences in water resources rather than by simply summing water use. We propose a model for weighting renewable water resources and present a case study assessing water scarcity footprints as indicators of the potential impacts of water use based on a life cycle impact assessment (LCIA). We assumed that the potential impact of a unit amount of water used is proportional to the land area or time required to obtain a unit of water from each water source. The water unavailability factor (fwua) was defined using a global hydrological modeling system with a global resolution of 0.5 × 0.5 degrees. This model can address the differences in water sources using an adjustable reference volume and temporal and spatial resolutions based on the flexible demands of users. The global virtual water flows were characterized using the fwua for each water source. Although nonrenewable and nonlocal blue water constituted only 3.8% of the total flow of the water footprint inventory, this increased to 29.7% of the total flow of the water scarcity footprint. We can estimate the potential impacts of water use that can be instinctively understood using fwua.
TL;DR: In this article, the authors present a document, redatto, voted and pubblicato by the Ipcc -Comitato intergovernativo sui cambiamenti climatici - illustra la sintesi delle ricerche svolte su questo tema rilevante.
Abstract: Cause, conseguenze e strategie di mitigazione Proponiamo il primo di una serie di articoli in cui affronteremo l’attuale problema dei mutamenti climatici. Presentiamo il documento redatto, votato e pubblicato dall’Ipcc - Comitato intergovernativo sui cambiamenti climatici - che illustra la sintesi delle ricerche svolte su questo tema rilevante.
TL;DR: A review of recent developments of LCA methods, focusing on some areas where there has been an intense methodological development during the last years, and some of the emerging issues.
Abstract: Life Cycle Assessment is a tool to assess the environmental impacts and resources used throughout a product's life cycle, i.e., from raw material acquisition, via production and use phases, to waste management. The methodological development in LCA has been strong, and LCA is broadly applied in practice. The aim of this paper is to provide a review of recent developments of LCA methods. The focus is on some areas where there has been an intense methodological development during the last years. We also highlight some of the emerging issues. In relation to the Goal and Scope definition we especially discuss the distinction between attributional and consequential LCA. For the Inventory Analysis, this distinction is relevant when discussing system boundaries, data collection, and allocation. Also highlighted are developments concerning databases and Input-Output and hybrid LCA. In the sections on Life Cycle Impact Assessment we discuss the characteristics of the modelling as well as some recent developments for specific impact categories and weighting. In relation to the Interpretation the focus is on uncertainty analysis. Finally, we discuss recent developments in relation to some of the strengths and weaknesses of LCA.
TL;DR: The LCA framework and procedure is introduced, how to define and model a product's life cycle is outlined, and an overview of available methods and tools for tabulating and compiling associated emissions and resource consumption data in a life cycle inventory (LCI) is provided.
Abstract: Sustainable development requires methods and tools to measure and compare the environmental impacts of human activities for the provision of goods and services (both of which are summarized under the term "products"). Environmental impacts include those from emissions into the environment and through the consumption of resources, as well as other interventions (e.g., land use) associated with providing products that occur when extracting resources, producing materials, manufacturing the products, during consumption/use, and at the products' end-of-life (collection/sorting, reuse, recycling, waste disposal). These emissions and consumptions contribute to a wide range of impacts, such as climate change, stratospheric ozone depletion, tropospheric ozone (smog) creation, eutrophication, acidification, toxicological stress on human health and ecosystems, the depletion of resources, water use, land use, and noise-among others. A clear need, therefore, exists to be proactive and to provide complimentary insights, apart from current regulatory practices, to help reduce such impacts. Practitioners and researchers from many domains come together in life cycle assessment (LCA) to calculate indicators of the aforementioned potential environmental impacts that are linked to products-supporting the identification of opportunities for pollution prevention and reductions in resource consumption while taking the entire product life cycle into consideration. This paper, part 1 in a series of two, introduces the LCA framework and procedure, outlines how to define and model a product's life cycle, and provides an overview of available methods and tools for tabulating and compiling associated emissions and resource consumption data in a life cycle inventory (LCI). It also discusses the application of LCA in industry and policy making. The second paper, by Pennington et al. (Environ. Int. 2003, in press), highlights the key features, summarises available approaches, and outlines the key challenges of assessing the aforementioned inventory data in terms of contributions to environmental impacts (life cycle impact assessment, LCIA).
TL;DR: The ReCiPe2016 method as discussed by the authors provides a state-of-the-art method to convert life cycle inventories to a limited number of life cycle impact scores on midpoint and endpoint level.
Abstract: Life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) translates emissions and resource extractions into a limited number of environmental impact scores by means of so-called characterisation factors. There are two mainstream ways to derive characterisation factors, i.e. at midpoint level and at endpoint level. To further progress LCIA method development, we updated the ReCiPe2008 method to its version of 2016. This paper provides an overview of the key elements of the ReCiPe2016 method. We implemented human health, ecosystem quality and resource scarcity as three areas of protection. Endpoint characterisation factors, directly related to the areas of protection, were derived from midpoint characterisation factors with a constant mid-to-endpoint factor per impact category. We included 17 midpoint impact categories. The update of ReCiPe provides characterisation factors that are representative for the global scale instead of the European scale, while maintaining the possibility for a number of impact categories to implement characterisation factors at a country and continental scale. We also expanded the number of environmental interventions and added impacts of water use on human health, impacts of water use and climate change on freshwater ecosystems and impacts of water use and tropospheric ozone formation on terrestrial ecosystems as novel damage pathways. Although significant effort has been put into the update of ReCiPe, there is still major improvement potential in the way impact pathways are modelled. Further improvements relate to a regionalisation of more impact categories, moving from local to global species extinction and adding more impact pathways. Life cycle impact assessment is a fast evolving field of research. ReCiPe2016 provides a state-of-the-art method to convert life cycle inventories to a limited number of life cycle impact scores on midpoint and endpoint level.
01 Jan 2016
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