Models for Sustainability

Yuan Yao

Abstract


As one of the major methodologies used in the modeling of sustainability, Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is widely used to evaluate the environmental impacts of emerging technologies and to enhance decision making towards sustainable development. However, most of the current LCA models are static and deterministic. More insights could be generated when LCA models are coupled with higher-resolution techniques in a prospective fashion. Instead of trying to accurately predict the future, the purpose and value of integrated prospective models are to explore the boundaries of possibility and to shed light on directions that can lead to sustainable pathways. The biggest challenge is to determine the appropriate model resolution so that both big-picture insights and critical details are included. This challenge is hard to address, especially for interdisciplinary models that try to incorporate more than one dimension related to sustainability. However, improvements can be made continually through efforts from a growing population of interdisciplinary researchers.

Keywords


Sustainability; Modeling; Life cycle assessment

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