Assessing Temporary Carbon Sequestration and Storage Projects through Land Use, Land-Use Change and Forestry: Comparison of Dynamic Life Cycle Assessment with Ton-Year Approaches

Abstract: 

In order to properly assess the climate impact of temporary carbon sequestration and storage projects through land-use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF), it is important to consider their temporal aspect. Dynamic life cycle assessment (dynamic LCA) was developed to account for time while assessing the potential impact of life cycle greenhouse gases (GHG) emissions. In this paper, the dynamic LCA approach is applied to a temporary carbon sequestration project through afforestation, and the results are compared with those of the two principal ton-year approaches: the Moura-Costa and the Lashof methods. The dynamic LCA covers different scenarios, which are distinguished by the assumptions regarding what happens at the end of the sequestration period. In order to ascertain the degree of compensation of an emission through a LULUCF project, the ratio of the cumulative impact of the project to the cumulative impact of a baseline GHG emission is calculated over time. This ratio tends to 100% when assuming that, after the end of the sequestration project period, the forest is maintained indefinitely. Conversely, the ratio tends to much lower values in scenarios where part of the carbon is released back to the atmosphere. The comparison of the dynamic LCA approach with the Moura-Costa and the Lashof methods shows that dynamic LCA is a more flexible approach as it allows the consideration of every life cycle stage of the project and it gives decision makers the opportunity to test the sensitivity of the results to the choice of different time horizons.

Authors
Authors: 
BRANDAO Miguel, SAMSON Rejean, LEVASSEUR Annie, MARGNI Manuele, PASCAL Lesage
Publication Year
Publication Year: 
2012
Type

Type:

Appears in Collections
Appears in Collections: 
Institute for Environment and Sustainability
JRC Institutes
IES
Publisher
Publisher: 
SPRINGER
ISSN
ISSN: 
0165-0009
Citation
Citation: 
CLIMATIC CHANGE p. 759-776 no. 3-4 vol. 115