DATE: Wednesday, November 9th 2016
TIME: 4:00 – 5:30pm
LOCATION: 126 Barrows Hall
TITLE: An LCA-based Heuristic Framework for Understanding Unintended Environmental Consequences of Technology Adoption
ABSTRACT: The application of product-life cycle assessment (LCA) in a policy context highlights the need for a distinct so-called “consequential” LCA (CLCA). Central to the spirit of CLCA is a model of the economy within which the new technology or product is embedded. This statement raises two further questions. One is that what is meant by an economic model for there are several to chose from. Input-output analysis, Partial equilibrium (PE) models, computable general equilibrium models (CGE), and econometric models, are examples of a few different types of economic models that are useful for different purposes. The second question is how does one determine which are the commodities whose markets are to be included in a CLCA. This paper is on the second question. It invents heuristics that can identify vulnerable points in the economy from which large unintended additional pollution might manifest. The heuristics are intended as a guide to identify the processes or activities that may give rise to additional emissions beyond the supply chain. The need for a heuristic approach that relies on simple rules is motivated by the complexity, cost, and the uncertainty in estimates associated with techniques and tools currently being relied upon by decision makers for predicting the global and long-term consequences from the diffusion of emerging technologies. Being rooted in traditional LCA it also illustrates the value of traditional LCA for CLCA.
BIOGRAPHY: Deepak Rajagopal is an assistant professor in the Institute of Environment and Sustainability and the Department of Urban Planning at the University of California, Los Angeles. He has a Ph.D. in Energy and Resources from University of California, Berkeley and Master of Science degrees in Agricultural and Resource Economics (UC Berkeley), and Mechanical Engineering (University of Maryland, College Park) and Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical engineering (Indian Institute of Technology, Madras). Prior to coming to UCLA, was also a post-doctoral researcher at the Energy Biosciences Institute, UC Berkeley. He was a Visiting assistant professor at the School of Public and Environmental Affairs, at Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana between 2013-2015. He also three years of experience as a Structural Integrity and Reliability Engineer at United Technologies Research Center in Hartford, Connecticut. His areas of research include Life cycle assessment, Energy and Agricultural Economics, Climate Policy, Food-Energy-Water Nexus, Sustainability of Bioenergy systems. He teaches Life cycle assessment, Energy, Environment and Development, and Tools for sustainability assessment.