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The characterization factors for carbon dioxide vary between openLCA 2.3.1 and ecoinvent 3.9.1 methods. In openLCA 2.3.1 version, Carbon dioxide, to soil or biomass stock is +1 whereas in previous versions and for ecoinvent 3.9.1 it is -1. Shouldn't it be -1, since this represents carbon uptake due to changes in land carbon stocks? This may result in drastically different results for bio-based systems. Please advise!

openLCA 2.3.1:

ecoinvent 3.9.1:

in openLCA by (140 points)

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by (116k points)
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Hi, good question, this deserves indeed explanation, we have set impact directions in "our" categories, and with these set, the direction of the flow in the category does not need to be considered in the factor, but only the amount (for an output category, such as climate change, flows on the input side always are deducted from the LCIA result, while outputs add to the result). This does not need to be reflected with a negative sign. A negative sign is only needed if a flow on the same side as the impact category reduces the impact. Note that this works in openLCA 2.0.3 only (and future versions).

We kept the ecoinvent methods untouched therefore they still need the negative sign.

I hope this was clear? Thank you and best wishes,


edit: I was incorrect for carbon dioxide to soil, please see comments below
by (116k points)
edited by
I think you are right and the 'carbon dioxide to soil' is actually a case where the same direction leads to a reduction of the impact, and we will need to update the method once more, since here a -1 is correct.. Thank you for your comment and sorry for the need to update the package once more..
Update: the new method package is now in Nexus, here: https://nexus.openlca.org/database/openLCA%20LCIA%20methods