Before conducting a comprehensive impact assessment, such as a life cycle impact assessment (LCIA), there is a need to discuss the range of impacts which could and should be included. Up to this point of time, there has not been a comprehensive list of impacts for potential inclusion available. This research builds upon previous work which surveyed a large component of the comprehensive impact assessment field for cataloging and analysis in greater detail and then expanded it to include those midpoints, endpoints, and damages which could be covered in a more comprehensive impact assessment. In this paper, a seminal effort in the form of a meta-model is presented to facilitate an expanded discussion of the taxonomy of this field. Upon using existing models it was apparent the taxonomy needed to be structured to represent midpoint, endpoint, damage, and weighted levels as they relate to areas of protection for the impact assessment phase. Contrary to recent use in the LCIA field, a distinction will be made between an endpoint measure (which is more of a “count” of impacts) and a damage measure (which is a value-weighted aggregation of two or more endpoints). The authors present a representation of all four levels of impact assessment: midpoint, endpoint, damage, and weighted. This taxonomy was developed to include the existing impacts found in LCIA literature, and then expanded to be more comprehensive and include a larger set of impacts than are normally included within LCIA. The authors recognize this is the first of many steps necessary to capture all potential impacts that should be considered when conducting a comprehensive environmental assessment. The intent is to propose a taxonomy that would greatly facilitate the accumulation and communication of empirical and theoretical knowledge gained by offering a standard vocabulary and structure.
Journal of Cleaner Production – Elsevier
Published: Jul 1, 2008
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