Until recently, the environmental impacts of developing technologies were neither explored nor regulated until after commercialization. Thus, technological innovation has been disconnected from environmental assessment and regulation (Dewick et al. 2004; von Gleich et al. 2007). This tradition has positioned environmental governance as retrospective and reactive (Davies 2009). However, there is a growing realization that environmental intervention at the nascent stages of technology development may be more effective. Therefore, there is a critical need to transcend retrospective models of environmental assessment and regulation by applying life-cycle assessment (LCA) to technologies at these early stages (Fleischer and Grunwald 2008; Meyer et al. 2011) such that life-cycle environmental trade-offs can be explored in modeling scenarios before significant investments in infrastructure create technological lock-in or result in stranded costs.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Environmental Science(all)