a spatially differentiated life cycle impact assessment method
This is a short list of our most
frequently asked questions. If you have any other question about LC-IMPACT, please use our Contact form.
The replies appear below the list.
1. The spatial differentiation in LC-IMPACT depends on the impact pathway modelled. For
impact categories where impacts take place at a global scale only (climate change, ozone depletion,
ionizing radiation) the characterization factors are given on a global level only. For categories with a
regionalized scope, such as water and land stress, spatially differentiated characterization factors are
derived. The highest spatial resolution depends on the relevant scale of the impacts and the data
availability. For currently available spatially-differentiated impact categories the following spatial
detail is available:
Water stress (Human health): watershed level (>11’000 spatial units)
Freshwater eutrophication: 0.5 ° x 0.5°
Terrestrial acidification: 2.0° x 2.5
In addition, characterization factors are also reported on a country and global level to increase the
flexibility of the application. Country and global characterisation factors were calculated as the
average of grid-specific CFs weighted by the fraction of the population of the countryor global living
on that grid or weighted by the amount of resource (e.g. water) used.
2. No, there are currently only characterization factors at endpoint level available.
It is our aim to include consistent midpoint indicators in a future update.
3. The LC-IMPACT methodology includes many new and improved developments in LCA
research, such as impacts from water and land stress, marine eutrophication or new toxicity impacts.
Other impact pathways are still missing, for example the impact of noise on humans and ecosystems.
4. Scientific evidence of impact pathways is divided into high level and low level of
robustness. Characterisation factors are reported for high level of robustness only and for high + low
level of robustness, respectively.
5. For human health, the endpoint unit is DALY, i.e. disability adjusted life
years, in the population exposed.
For ecosystem quality, the endpoint unit is PDF, i.e. potentially disappeared fraction of species
at the global scale . Global species loss is derived on the basis of spatially differentiated global
maps of today’s present number of species in various taxonomic groups, including vascular plants, fish,
birds, mammals, amphibians and reptiles.
For resource scarcity, the endpoint unit is kgore, i.e. kilogram of ore which
represents the extra average amount of ore produced as a result of mineral resource extraction.
6. No, Since many different impact pathways are possible, the effect models included in
the derivation of the characterization factors relate the concentration of the pollutant with the
species richness decrease directly.
7. In the freshwater eutrophication model, grids in very arid areas have no water.
Therefore, there can be no emission of P to water, transport to downstream grids, or effect to
8. Though fossil resource extraction is often included in the Area of Protection
"Resources", this is not included in the LC-IMPACT methodology. Fossil resource extraction is highly
correlated with Climate change.