The Workshop on Environmental Education in the Institute of Life Cycle Assessment, Japan was established in 2008, and this year marks the 14th year. We have published three special issues on “Life Cycle Thinking and Environmental Education” in this journal and one collection of teaching materials as a part of the activities of this workshop. In this commentary and discussion, our activities of the last 13 years are outlined and the current situation and future issues are briefly described.
The World Tourism Organization of United Nations（UNWTO）, has given warning that tourism, in which many people are moving or traveling, has potentially had a significant impact on climate change through global warming. There are calculated greenhouse gases（GHG）emissions from travel packages, transportation, accommodation, food and beverage, and the industry using carbon footprint（CFP）in life cycle assessment（LCA） studies on tourism. On the one hand, the Sustainable Development Goals（SDGs）and targets, which have attracted public attention, include items that target tourism. The Japanese version of the Sustainable Tourism Guidelines（JSTS-D）has also been published in Japan. Currently, the serious impact of the new coronavirus （COVID-19）continues, and the industry is under pressure to make a significant transformation, including tourism, but at the same time starting with recovery from COVID-19. It can be considered that there is a great opportunity to shift for sustainability. Tourism-related businesses, industry groups, research organizations, universities, etc., must be working together to implement sustainability initiatives.
Green innovation is considered to be a promising approach to addressing environmental issues such as global warming. However, excessive resource use may be induced behind green innovation, which was defined as the "resource paradox problem" by the authors. People have gradually faced with the imminent risk associated with the resource paradox problem, but without sufficiently quantifying it. This paper introduced quantitative examples of resource paradox problems potentially seen at the national, material, and product levels. Then, importance in the categorization of resource consumption patterns and development of corresponding strategies were highlighted for some green innovations that cause the resource paradox problem. Finally, the effects of the introduction of renewable energy and the usage patterns of products were discussed in the context of the resource paradox problem.
In this technical report, we conducted a meta analysis of 66 peer-reviewed articles focusing on the life cycle GHG emissions of electrical power generation. The target power generation methods are coal, oil, natural gas, geothermal, wind, nuclear, hydro, solar thermal, solar photovoltaic, and biomass. These power generation methods were categorized further by the existence of CCS for coal and natural gas, the type of panel for solar photovoltaic, and onshore and offshore for wind power. The scope of the study is the full life cycle, which consists of power generation stages, such as fuel production, infrastructure construction, power generation, and decommissioning. We applied the average value of the same power generation method when there were missing stages in the collected data items. The meta analysis revealed the median value for each power generation method, and we found that switching from fossil fuel power generation to non-fossil fuel power generation reduces life cycle GHG emissions by 90% per kWh. However, the reduction can be as less as 50% depending on the non-fossil fuel power generation method. It was clarified that it is important to understand the impact of power generation on GHG emissions, such as power generation capacity, plant life, and power generation method.