Incorporating geographically specific direct land use change impacts into the life cycle climate change impacts
A Session by Marie-Odile Fortier (Assistant Professor, University of Nevada, Las Vegas)
About this Session
When the life cycle greenhouse gas emissions of a new installation are determined from cradle to grave, the emissions associated with land transformation and land occupation by that infrastructure are commonly overlooked. However, there can be organic carbon loss from soils, carbon loss from removed vegetation, and changes in the fluxes of greenhouse gases between the atmosphere and the new land use compared to its original land use. These direct land use change (DLUC) impacts can be converted to CO2 equivalents and thus integrated into the carbon footprint of the product or process associated with an infrastructure installation, leading to a more rigorous assessment of life cycle greenhouse gas emissions. This session will cover the data sources, quality assurance, collection, conversion, and analysis steps for a bottom-up approach to determining DLUC impacts, tailored to the land footprint size, age, location, and structural type of an installation. The dynamics that lead to the various components of DLUC impacts that contribute to climate change will be introduced. The advantages and disadvantages of other resources for direct land use change data will be described within the context of specific intended applications and LCA scopes. The conditions and new land uses that have the potential for net negative greenhouse gas emissions from DLUC will be discussed.