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Life cycle analysis: a critique

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Life cycle analysis (LCA) is an increasingly important tool for environmental policy, and even for industry. Analysts are also increasingly interested in forecasting future materials/energy fluxes on regional and global scales, as a function of various economic growth and regulatory scenarios. A fundamental tenet of LCA is that every material product must eventually become a waste. To choose the "greener" of two products or policies it is necessary to take into account its environmental impacts from "cradle to grave". This includes not only indirect imputs to the production process, and associated wastes and emissions, but also the future (downstream) fate of a product

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