The article introduces activities of the workshop on environmental education in the Institute of Life Cycle Assessment, Japan. Since Life Cycle Thinking（LCT）can be recognized as a useful concept to make know how our daily lives link with global environmental issues, aims of the workshop are to discuss and develop education tools, materials or programs based on LCT. The LCT-based education is intended for various people from pupils of elementary school to the general public. We started the action of the workshop in 2008, then published database of the results in progress which may be downloaded from web site of the Institute of Life Cycle Assessment, Japan, in 2013.
Choshi, located at the east end of the Boso peninsula, Chiba prefecture, Japan, has many geological heritages that should be preserved and passed on to future generations. The geological and geographical characteristics of Choshi peninsula have brought honor to the region as Japan’s best spring-cabbage-producing area as well as one of the most important fishery bases in the country, and have attracted many of wind turbines, which are considered as leading renewable energy. Choshi Geopark provides people with understanding of not only the geological construction process of Choshi peninsula but also of the environmental impacts resulting from this land utilization process. That convinces the people of importance of the local environment and encourages their concrete activities toward conservation of the local environment in the future. We define the concept that divides the local environment into three stages - the passed formation process, the present utilization process and the future conservation process - as the “local life cycle thinking”. By utilizing this concept, we are providing education for sustainable development（ESD）at elementary, junior-high and high schools in the region.
Background and Objective. Since the early 1990s, a number of methods of life cycle impact assessment（LCIA）, including both midpoint and endpoint approaches, have been developed especially in European countries. For facilitating LCA practitioners’ thoughtful choices of methods, advantages and drawbacks of respective methods should critically and systematically be investigated. The objective of this series of articles is to review and compare the LCIA methods of the world so as to provide supportive information for LCA practitioners.
Results and Discussion. In this article, the definition of terminology relevant to LCIA is revisited among methods, especially between European and Japanese methods, and their methodological frameworks and impact categories comprised in those methods are summarized. Technical terms in English and their Japanese translations are provided side by side. Reviews and comparisons among the LCIA methods indicate that their frameworks and choices of impact categories are influenced, or sometimes restricted, by various conditions under which those methods have been developed. Those conditions include, not only practical reasons such as availability of characterisation models of impact categories, but factors directly linked to “goal and scope” of LCA such as motivation of method developments, adopted approaches of weighting steps, and environmental laws and regulations of countries where those methods have been developed.
Conclusions. Characteristics of the LCIA methods of the world are reviewed and compared from the viewpoint of their methodological frameworks. It is indicated that an appropriate method depends on the goals of LCA practitioners, which suggests that they should be careful in the choice of methods about the backgrounds of their frameworks.
Objective. The accidents at the Fukushima nuclear power plants following the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011 resulted in a huge amount of emissions of radioactive substances. The public may have special concerns regarding these plants and radiation-related health risks. Advanced method of life cycle impact assessment evaluates potential human health impacts throughout of product life cycle. This study aimed at the development of method which reflect geographical conditions of Japan and climate conditions of 2011 March and applied this to evaluate increment of health impacts caused by the severe accident of nuclear power plants. Based on the preliminary result of evaluation using the existing characterization factor, we concentrated on the assessment of health impact of cancer caused by the I131 emission to the air. Methods. LCIA methods generally provide site generic characterization factors (including country-specific factors) to give a priority to the application to LCA. We developed a method which includes fate, exposure, effect and damage analysis in order to improve the quality of assessment. The developed method considers the location (emission site), temporal conditions (2012/March/11th to 29th), population (density and age distribution) and weather conditions (precipitation, wind). The calculated result can be expressed as the increment of the risk of cancer and that of the damage on human, namely, loss of life expectancy. Results. The incremental risk of cancer and the loss of life expectancy caused by the emission of I131 from Fukushima nuclear power plant were estimated. Both of them were evaluated for each grid cell (3km×3km). The incremental risk exceeded 10-4 in eastern Fukushima and Ibaraki prefecture and exceeded 10-5 in Kanto region including metropolitan area. The estimated human health damage varies with the slope of dose-response relationship, the maximum value is estimated around 30,000 years. The contribution of external exposures is comparatively higher than those of internal exposure such as inhalation and ingestion, because we took into account the indoor exposure of gamma radiation. Average health impact per capita in Fukushima prefecture was 2 days in the maximum. Potential damage on human health in Tokyo is also estimated high (more than 5,000 years) because of the higher population density as well as Fukushima and Ibaraki. Conclusions. Estimated health impacts of I131 have a wide range varied from 5,000 to 30,000 years. Nevertheless, our model reflecting environmental, geographical and temporal conditions contributed to improve the quality of assessment and the result would be expected as the first study estimating potential of human health damage. The maximum value was the same digit number with the annual health impact (normalization value) of indoor air pollution (84,000 years) and noise (69,000 years) in Japan and it was less than these of urban air pollution and climate change. This study concentrated the damage caused by the emission of I131, the impact of Cs137 was out of scope, because of the difficulty of exposure in a long period of time. The inclusion of Cs137 in the assessment would be a next issue of this study.
Objective. The recent Carbon Footprint of Products (CFP) program puts an emphasis on communicating with consumers and can be used to indicate Life Cycle CO2 emissions (LC-CO2) of products. Under the program, suppliers offer LC-CO2 information for their own products, and then consumers can act in an environmentally conscious way based on that information. We calculated LC-CO2 emissions for three representative restaurant menus (serving Japanese, American, and Chinese-style dishes), based on cost accounting data provided by Skylark Co., Ltd., information from the CFP database, and 3EID. Our objective is to show that Skylark's cost accounting data has the potential to calculate LC-CO2 indicators, which can be helpful for environmentally conscious consumers. Results and Discussion. Per-serving LC-CO2 indicators of representative restaurants' menu were 2,637g-CO2 for Japanese-style dishes, 4,080g-CO2 for American-style dishes, and 1,742g-CO2 for Chinese-style dishes. Comparing CO2 emissions per serving between restaurant dishes and homemade dishes shows that there is a difference in emission structures. By clarifying those structures, consumers become better able to understand the route of CO2 emissions and to control them. We evaluated the CO2 emissions of restaurant customers through the use of a questionnaire which asked respondents which style of dishes they tended to choose, and which method of transportation they used when visiting restaurants. The results showed that consumers who prefer Japanese-style dishes generated low CO2 emissions per serving. When a consumer used a personal vehicle to get to the restaurant, it generated about the same CO2 emission as the dish which the consumer ordered. The specific CO2 emissions per serving can be lowered either by reducing energy input and waste discharge in restaurant operations or by reducing the use of vehicles. Conclusions. Our research shows that we can estimate useful indicators of LC-CO2 emissions from restaurant dishes by using corporate accounting data. This data must be complemented with information from secondary databases, but we can derive a lot of useful information for both consumers and important policies. As this type of accounting data is regularly tallied and collected as part of daily company operations, using such data for LC-CO2 indicators per serving could potentially contribute to the construction and diffusion of CFP program without adding any additional costs.
Among the renewable energy sources, geothermal power is a promising power generation system from the power supply stability point of view. The environmental load from geothermal power system is regarded to be small since this system produces energy not due to fossil fuel combustion, and consequently emits a lower amount of carbon dioxide（CO2）. The aim of this paper is to calculate the additional load of emitted greenhouse gases from the steam（emitted GHGs）and land use by geothermal power system occupation and to evaluate comprehensive impact caused from the system. As the results, the amount of entire GHGs from the system is estimated to the range from 34 to 113g-CO2-eq/kWh depending on the consistency of emitted GHG. Social cost of total environmental impact considering emitted GHG, land use and waste is estimated from 0.44 to 0.74yen/kWh, and it is shown that environmental impact by emitted GHG, land use and waste is about 80 percent of total environmental impact.
The Japan Electrical Manufacturers' Association（JEMA）conducted life cycle CO2 analysis of Japanese refrigerator in 1999. Compared to the scenarios applied for the model of the year 1999, recent Japanese refrigerator has many differences or improvements i.e., improved efficiency of compressor, vacuum insulation panel, manufacturing sites from Japan to overseas. Therefore JEMA made a revised life cycle CO2 analysis for the model of the year 2010 using new scenarios, and assuming that the 1999 model is replaced with the 2010 model, compared the amount of life cycle CO2 emissions of the 2010 main model to that of the 1999 main model. Results show that an amount of life cycle CO2 emissions for the 2010 model is 1709 kg. Compared between life cycle stages, use stage is the largest share（81 %）and raw material procurement stage is the second share（19%）. The amount of life cycle CO2 emissions of the product manufactured in China and Thailand is 1.3% and 0.9% larger than that of the product manufactured in Japan. The amount of CO2 emissions of the whole life cycle and use stage of the 2010 model decreased 59 % and 64 % respectively, compared to the 1999 model. This result indicates that energy consumption performance during use stage is highly improved by vacuum insulation panel and so on. As a conclusion, energy consumption performance during use stage is the key for decreasing life cycle CO2 for refrigerators.