Science Inventory

Development of Normalization Factors for Canada and the United States and Comparison with European Factors

Citation:

Lautier, A., R. K. Rosenbaum, M. Margini, J. C. BARE, R. Pierre-Olivier, AND L. Deschenes. Development of Normalization Factors for Canada and the United States and Comparison with European Factors. SCIENCE OF THE TOTAL ENVIRONMENT. Elsevier Science Ltd, New York, NY, 409(1):33-42, (2010).

Impact/Purpose:

To inform the public.

Description:

In Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), normalization calculates the magnitude of an impact (midpoint or endpoint) relative to the total effect of a given reference. Using a country or a continent as a reference system is a first step towards global normalization. The goal of this work is to 1) calculate normalization factors for Canada and the US 2) compare them with existing European normalization factors, and 3) explicitly include uncertainty and variability in their evaluation. The spatial differences between geographical zones were highlighted by identifying and comparing the main contributors to a given impact category in Canada, US, and Europe. The uncertainty analysis includes parameter uncertainty, temporal variability, uncertainty due to choices as well as a comparison across LCIA methodologies (Impact2002+, TRACI and LUCAS). The comparison across different geographical regions showed that normalized profiles are highly dependent on the selected reference due to differences in the industrial and economic activities. Uncertainty is dominated by parameter uncertainty and temporal variability is not an issue unless long-term trends are observed in emission values. The comparison of resource extraction and resource consumption raises the question of the legitimacy of defining a country by its geographical borders.

URLs/Downloads:

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Record Details:

Record Type: DOCUMENT (JOURNAL/PEER REVIEWED JOURNAL)
Product Published Date: 12/01/2010
Record Last Revised: 07/31/2011
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 227750

Organization:

U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

NATIONAL RISK MANAGEMENT RESEARCH LABORATORY

SUSTAINABLE TECHNOLOGY DIVISION

SYSTEMS ANALYSIS BRANCH