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14.04.2016 | COMMENTARY AND DISCUSSION ARTICLE | Ausgabe 7/2016

The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment 7/2016

What causes more LCA research—subjective values, objective problems, or scientific traditions?

Zeitschrift:
The International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment > Ausgabe 7/2016
Autor:
Ge Qian
Wichtige Hinweise
Responsible editor: Walter Klöpffer

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to verify whether life cycle assessment (LCA) research can be mainly treated as a kind of pro-environmental behavior due to public environment concerns, or academic and research activities based on scientific traditions.

Methods

This paper uses the international comparisons method for modeling and SPSS 16.0 for data processing. The data in this study were obtained from the Human Development Report by the United Nations Development Programme and the Web of Science by the Institute for Scientific Information.

Results and discussion

Our empirical study shows that the two main factors influencing the outputs per capita of the research articles in LCA in a particular country are the value of Environmental Performance Index, which represents the overall environmental quality, as well as the outputs per capita of the research articles in environmental science and technology. The results of statistical analysis show two J-type curves: with the change of the independent variables, the dependent variable changes in the same direction, but at a rate that is first slow, then fast.

Conclusions

LCA research results from scientific traditions and can only develop based on fundamental research in environmental science and technology. Further, LCA research is a pro-environmental behavior due to actual and objective effects rather than subjective motives as more research on LCA can accompany, even in some degree may lead to better overall environmental qualities. However, although environmental concerns are likely to affect the number of LCA studies as an implicit variable, this has not been empirically confirmed in our optimization model.

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