What is it about?

In this publication we explore the role of Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) as a tool for carbon accounting and find that it is inadequate. We then explore an alternative. If we require mandatory sequestration at the source of fossil carbon production, the need for an LCA to account for emissions along supply chains goes away. One complication is during the transition, as counterproductive technologies can take hold in the market if no additional policies are put in place. We explore various policy instruments that would prevent such a situation.

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Why is it important?

Life cycle analysis is an important qualitative method that should be used in technology design and project development. It can be useful to ensure a project or technology is not counterproductive, using more fossil carbon than it stores. However, life cycle analysis is not accurate or subjective enough to be quantitatively meaningful for the purpose of carbon accounting. Alternative options should be explored.

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This page is a summary of: Carbon accounting without life cycle analysis, Energy & Environmental Science, January 2023, Royal Society of Chemistry,
DOI: 10.1039/d3ee01138k.
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