As the one of the performance elements of the Carbon Negative Shot, robust life cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) accounting is a critical element for Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR). Life Cycle Analysis/Assessment (LCA) is an existing framework that is well suited to evaluate the environmental implications of CDR. By design, LCA provides a holistic perspective of the potential environmental impacts of a product or process across the different life cycle phases. Not only can LCA be used to help determine the net CO2e removal of a CDR approach, but it can also help with the assessment of potential tradeoffs with other environmental impacts. Even though the approaches for LCA are codified in the ISO 14040/14044 standards, we recognize the need to establish specific best practices for the subjective elements in those standards to harmonize data and methods to allow for consistent assessments of CDR approaches.

This document is envisioned as a complement to, not a replacement for, the ISO standards to address issues that are specific to applications of those standards to DACS analysis. The goals of these Best Practices are to:

  • Foster consistency of LCA of DACS systems to enable more complete understanding of potential impacts of CDR
  • Assess sensitivity and uncertainty in results to provide confidence in the study outcomes and potential risk envelopes for technology performance
  • Understand potential tradeoffs and co-benefits of DACS systems
  • Leverage best practices from the LCA research and practitioner community to account for considerations specific to evaluation of emerging technologies