The dynamic LCA approach is the next generation of carbon footprinting
The scientific bases of the dynamic LCA method used by DYNCO2 have been published in Environmental Science & Technology in 2010. The article is available using the following link:
Two other papers published in Climatic Change and Journal of Industrial Ecology present different applications of this approach. They can be found using the following links:
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DYNCO2 is a tool used to calculate the carbon footprint of products or projects using life cycle assessment (LCA), while considering the moment when greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions occur. This tool proposes a method that consistently integrates different temporal aspects into carbon footprinting, such as temporary carbon storage in long-lived products or GHG emissions mitigation projects using carbon sequestration in forests, etc.
DYNCO2 can be used for any product, service, process or project. The bases of the study (scope and boundaries) are set using the life cycle assessment methodology as described in the ISO 14040 standard.
The cumulative impact results provided by DYNCO2 can be very sensitive to the choice of a time horizon. By providing results that are detailed over time, DYNCO2 enables the user to analyze the consequences of this choice. The choice of a time horizon is a value-laden decision, since it leads to not considering the radiative forcing occurring beyond. Although a 100-year horizon is often used since it is the value adopted by the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) within the framework of the Kyoto Protocol, another value can be chosen according to the objectives of the study. One can choose a longer time horizon in order to avoid postponing impacts on future generations in a sustainable development point of view; or choose a shorter time horizon in order to favour short-term actions that rapidly decrease global warming, counting on technology improvements and knowledge to mitigate longer-term impacts.
The following paper published in Nature Climate Change discusses different implications regarding the choice of a time horizon for this type of analysis. http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v2/n1/full/nclimate1335.html.