Critical Reading Essay Example

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Life Cycle Assessment: Past, Present, and Future

The article “Life Cycle Assessment: Past, Present, and Future” is written by multiple authors, namely Guinée, Heijungs, Huppes at al. (90–96). The audience targeted included students, scientific community, as well as environmental organisations that seek to gain a deeper insight into the history of life cycle models.

The objective of the study is to examine the evolution of the Life Cycle Assessment during a period of three decades (Guinée, Heijungs, Huppes at al. 90–1). The researchers effectively tracked the history of LCA. Among the most important points noted include the fact that while the development of the LCA was prompted by energy analysis to conceive a comprehensive environmental burden analysis during the 1970s. This also came after the recognition that much environmental impacts of manufactured products emanates from the production, transportation, or disposal of the product rather than its actual use. However, the introduction of the significant life cycle impact assessment and life cycle costing models was during the 1980s. Again, in the 1990s, another model called social-LCA and a specifically momentous LCA became more influential during the 2000s.

The authors effectively demonstrated how LCA evolved into Life Cycle Sustainability Analysis (LCSA), following the dominance of environmental sustainability issues that has enveloped the 21st century.

Important points

Their explanation of the LCSA is comprehensive and it appears the authors intended to highlight the supremacy of the LCSA model as much of their analysis was rooted in communicating its superiority over the LCA. As a consequence, the authors noted that most of the current developments in the 21st century have centred on broadening the traditional environmental LCA into a highly comprehensive model called the LCSA.

An additional important point the authors relayed included the fact that the LCSA model was proposed to link the issues of life cycle sustainability to the knowledge required for tackling them, identification of current knowledge and associated models, the likely knowledge gaps, as well as detailing out the research programs necessary for filling these gaps. At this stage, it is important to consider that the authors intended to show that LCA has ultimately evolved into LCSA.

The authors also detailed out what LCSA is made up of, in what may appear to suggest that the LCSA is actually trans-disciplinary integration framework of models instead of just a model in itself. Their vivid description of the LCSA leads to the fundamental conclusion that LCSA functions with a vast amount of disciplinary models. It also offers a guide on how to select the suitable models particularly when it comes to answering sustainability issues.


The article failed to mention and describe the different aspects of the research methodology used in the study. Hence, the level of validity of the research findings cannot be succinctly pointed to as the validity and reliability of the methodology cannot be questioned.

The authors also failed to provide suggest hypothesis, hence it is difficult to determine if the results or findings are actually reflecting the original idea. This has made it difficult to conclude on whether the authors effectively conducted the study.

In addition, the presentation of results and discussion is relatively weak since article used a limited number of graphical or visual presentation methods like tables, illustrations or and figures.

Works Cited

Jeroen, Guinée, Reinout Heijungs, Gjalt Huppes, Alessandra Zamagni, Paolo Masoni, and Roberto Buonamici, Tomas Ekvall and Tomas Rydberg. “Life Cycle Assessment: Past, Present, and Future.” Environ. Sci. Technol., 45.1 (2011): 90–96