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This paper presents a “policy-informed” life cycle assessment of a cross-border electricity supply chain that links the impact of each unit process to its governing policy framework. An assessment method is developed and applied to the California–Mexico energy exchange as a unique case study. Results indicate most of the water withdrawn per kWh exported to California occurs in Baja California, most of the air quality impacts accrue in the U.S. Southwest, and emissions of CO2-equivalents are more evenly divided between the two regions.
After decades of dysfunction that have exacerbated chronic water problems, California is on the cusp of a new era due to historic groundwater legislation. However, meeting the law’s goals will require overcoming stubborn systemic obstacles, according to a report by researchers at Stanford’s Water in the West program and the Gould Center for Conflict Resolution at the Stanford Law School.