Conditions for the broad application of prospective life cycle inventory databases

This paper discusses the critical role of prospective Life Cycle Assessment (pLCA) in evaluating the potential environmental impacts of emerging technologies essential for achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. It underscores the necessity for major technological transitions to combat climate change and highlights the challenges in developing, sharing, and utilizing prospective Life Cycle Inventory (pLCI) databases. These databases integrate future scenarios with existing LCI data to represent future technologies and supply chains, addressing the environmental impacts of future technologies within a changing global economy, society, and environment. Despite the increasing use of pLCI databases in academic research, their application remains limited due to challenges in accessibility, usability, and coverage. The paper emphasizes the importance of improving the generation, sharing, and use of pLCI databases, offering guidance for environmental decision-making for future technologies. It identifies conditions for the broad application of pLCI databases, including scientific integrity, usefulness, accessibility, usability, interpretability, and continuous improvement. By addressing these challenges, the paper aims to foster a wider consensus on the models and data sources for pLCI databases, ultimately improving environmental guidance for the development of sustainable technologies.