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Sustainability 2018, 10(2), 542; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10020542

A Regional Analysis of the Life Cycle Environmental and Economic Tradeoffs of Different Economic Growth Paths

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH 03824, USA
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Received: 12 December 2017 / Revised: 9 February 2018 / Accepted: 12 February 2018 / Published: 18 February 2018
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Abstract

Different economic development strategies may result in varied socioeconomic and environmental synergies or tradeoffs, suggesting an opportunity for environmentally conscious planning. To understand such synergies or tradeoffs, a dynamic environmental life cycle assessment was conducted for eleven groups of New Hampshire industries. Historical state level Gross Domestic Product (GDP)-by-industry data was combined with economic input-output analysis to calculate the direct and life cycle energy use, freshwater use, greenhouse gas emissions, and eutrophication potential of each industry on a yearly basis for the period of 1997–2012. The future development of agriculture, traditional manufacturing, high tech, and tourism industries were investigated based on government projections. Total life cycle impacts of the 11 industries were found to represent around three to seven times those of direct impacts, indicating the significance of the supply chain impacts. Traditional manufacturing has the highest life cycle impacts even though it contributes to less than 10% of the state GDP. Future development of high tech was found to be the best strategy to increase GDP while imposing the least additional environmental impacts. Tourism presents relatively high impacts in terms of freshwater use and eutrophication potential, and a change in recreational style might be able to reduce its impacts. View Full-Text
Keywords: economic development; industrial GDP; state-level economic planning; economic input-output life cycle assessment; energy and greenhouse gas emissions; freshwater use economic development; industrial GDP; state-level economic planning; economic input-output life cycle assessment; energy and greenhouse gas emissions; freshwater use
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Mo, W.; Balen, D.; Moura, M.; Gardner, K.H. A Regional Analysis of the Life Cycle Environmental and Economic Tradeoffs of Different Economic Growth Paths. Sustainability 2018, 10, 542.

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