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Environmental Life-Cycle Analysis: A primer

Language:  English
A lucid, light-hearted but philosophically-deep introductory primer on Environmental-LCA with analogies and illustrations, meant for anyone in university interested in the environment.
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This little book is a primer. The target readership here is not necessarily only for engineers, but also for those studying to be lawyers, political scientists, administrators, business managers, etc. Lucid language, analogies and cartoons help to impress upon readers that environmental-LCA is not rocket-science. 

The reader is taken through the steps to be assiduously followed while performing an E-LCA. You understand the importance of defining the goal and the scope of your analysis before starting, and realise that E-LCA is data-intensive. Also covered are topics like attributional/consequential LCA, rebound effect and problem shifting, and allocation of environmental impacts. Attempting the exercises which appear at the end of every chapter will enable the reader to gain in confidence. As Prof Arun Kansal says in the Foreword to the book, ‘It explains the basic philosophy of LCA and argues, by providing examples, in its favour as a standard method for environmental decision-making.’ Dr Geoffrey Guest, in his Afterword, refers to the book as a ‘unique, light-hearted though philosophically-deep introductory piece on E-LCA.’

  • Foreword
  • Preface and Acknowledgements
  1. Introduction 
    1. Philosophical and functional goals 
    2. The journey 
    3. Not α to ω, just ABC 
  2. Systems and life-cycle thinking 
    1. Systems 
    2. Life-cycle thinking and lifetimes
  3. Environmental life-cycle analysis – de rigeur procedure?
    1. Goal and scope
    2. Inventory analysis (LCI)
    3. Impact assessment (LCIA) 
  4. Characterisation 
    1. Some characterisation factors 
  5. Normalisation 
    1. Subjectivity 
  6. Weighting 
    1. Prioritisation, ranking and weighting 
    2. Analogy   
    3. Relative importance – varying with space and time
  7. Aggregating to a single score 
  8. Attributional and consequential LCA
  9. Allocation of environmental impacts
    1. Allocation among the product and byproducts
    2. System expansion
    3. Trade and allocation
  10. Problem shifting and rebound effects
    1. Production and consumption 
    2. Rebound effect 
    3. Experiences
  11. Forecasting and backcasting
  12. Appendix : Environmental impact categories
    1. Environmental mechanisms – midpoint indicators (in alphabetical order)
    2. Endpoint indicators (damage categories); in alphabetical order
  13. Appendix: Published articles on interesting findings from LCA studies
    1. Pack a punch
    2. D-EV-il in the Detail
    3. Meaty issues
  • Epilogue 
  • Afterword 
  • About the author (in 2016)
  • Endnotes 
  • Commentary 
  • Environmental Life-cycle Assessment: A complete learning experience
  • Teaching and learning outcomes 
  • Environmental LCA 
  • One, few or all 
  • Environmental Life-cycle Analysis: A complete learning experience 
  • Acknowledgements 
About the Author

Venkatesh Govindarajan