Publications on Environmental and Climate Policy and Regulation
Adapting to a Changing Colorado River: Making Future Water Deliveries More Reliable Through Robust Management Strategies — 2013
The 2012 Colorado River Basin Study evaluated the resiliency of the Colorado River system over the next 50 years to climate change and other factors, and then compared different options and strategies for ensuring successful management of the river's resources. This report describes RAND's contribution to this study. It focuses on the Robust Decision Making methodologies used to identify vulnerabilities and compare portfolios of options.
Addressing Climate Change in Local Water Agency Plans: Demonstrating a Simplified Robust Decision Making Approach in the California Sierra Foothills — 2013
This report describes an approach for planning under deep uncertainty, Robust Decision Making (RDM), and demonstrates its use by the El Dorado Irrigation District (EID). Using RDM, the authors and EID tested the robustness of current long-term water management plans and more robust alternatives across more than 50 futures reflecting different assumptions about future climate, urban growth, and the availability of important new supplies.
Estimation of Regional Air-Quality Damages from Marcellus Shale Natural Gas Extraction in Pennsylvania — 2013
Producing natural gas from shale deposits generates air pollutant emissions. Increases in conventional air pollution may impact air-quality in shale gas extraction regions. RAND researchers provided a first-order estimate of conventional air pollutant emissions, and the monetary value of the associated environmental and health damages, from the extraction of unconventional shale gas in Pennsylvania.
An Evolutionary Model of Industry Transformation and the Political Sustainability of Emission Control Policies — 2013
Limiting climate change will require transformation of energy and other systems. This report presents an agent-based, game theoretic model designed to compare the long-term sustainability of alternative carbon emission reduction policies. The model tracks the co-evolution of an industry sector, its technology base, and political coalitions that influence government policy. It uses robust decision making methods to compare alternative policies.
Mobility is defined as the ability to travel from one location to another, regardless of mode or purpose. This report presents two divergent and thought-provoking scenarios for future mobility in the United States in 2030. These were developed using a unique six-step scenario development process. The report also provides suggestions for how transportation planners and policymakers can use these scenarios to inform their own planning.
Identifying Key Drivers of Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Biomass Feedstocks for Energy Production — 2013
Many policies in the United States, at both the federal and state levels, encourage the adoption of renewable energy from biomass.
If policies aimed at large reductions of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are enacted, more carbon capture and storage will be needed. RAND researchers explored the ability of the industrial base supporting the transportation and sequestration of CO2 to expand, assessing the industrial base for transportation and injection of CO2 for both geologic storage and enhanced oil recovery.
Describes Robust Decision Making, one of a new class of methods for quantitative analysis that addresses both quantitative analysis and ethical reasoning.
This report assesses the evidence that exists for the ways in which local air quality could influence local economic growth through health and workforce issues, quality-of-life issues, or air-quality regulations and business operations. It then extrapolates some of the existing results to the Pittsburgh region.
The Global Methane Initiative (GMI) is a voluntary international partnership that promotes methane recovery and reuse activities in developing and transition economies. The U.S. Department of State requested an evaluation of the activities and outcomes supported in whole or in part by its contributions to GMI to gauge its value added to the program.
Robust Water-Management Strategies for the California Water Plan Update 2013: Proof-of-Concept Analysis — 2013
This report describes a proof-of-concept analysis using Robust Decision Making to evaluate water resource management response packages for California's Central Valley under future uncertainty. This analytic approach will be used to develop a more comprehensive analysis for the California Water Plan Update 2013.
Choosing a New Organization for Management and Disposition of Commercial and Defense High-Level Radioactive Materials — 2013
Finding ways to safely store and ultimately dispose of nuclear waste remains a matter of considerable debate. This volume describes the steps needed to design a new, single-purpose organization to manage and dispose of commercial and defense high-level radioactive materials and examines three models for such an organization — federal government corporation, federally chartered private corporation, and independent government agency.
In this Response, the author sketches two problems with Professor Doug Kysar's argument regarding climate change litigation and effect on tort law.
Energy Services Analysis: An Alternative Approach for Identifying Opportunities to Reduce Emissions of Greenhouse Gases — 2012
Most environmental analyses focus on changing existing processes to use less energy and produce fewer emissions. This report uses energy service analysis (ESA) to examine possibilities for instead changing how a service is delivered. The ESA framework is used to analyze how changes in the provision of two services — news delivery and personal mobility — might reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and suggests other areas in which ESA could be applied.
Scenario Uncertainties in Estimating Direct Land-Use Change Emissions in Biomass-To-Energy Life Cycle Assessment — 2012
The use of biomass for energy production has increasingly been encouraged in the United States, in part motivated by the potential to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions relative to fossil fuels.
A ~ 13,000-Year Paleolimnological Record from the Uinta Mountains, Utah, Inferred from Diatoms and Loss-On-Ignition Analysis — 2011
Paleolimnological research in mountainous regions of the Western United States provide baseline understanding of how these lake systems will respond to ongoing climate change.
Governing Geoengineering Research: A Political and Technical Vulnerability Analysis of Potential Near-Term Options — 2011
Geoengineering is risky, but could transform the portfolio of options for limiting future climate change. Some geoengineering approaches could prove fast acting and inexpensive and could be deployed by one or a few nations without global cooperation. This report provides an initial examination and comparison of the risks associated with alternative international approaches the United States might pursue to governing geoengineering research and deployment.
Near-Term Opportunities for Integrating Biomass into the U.S. Electricity Supply: Technical Considerations — 2011
Biomass is an increasingly important source of electricity, heat, and liquid fuel. One near-term option for using biomass to generate electricity is to cofire biomass in coal-fired electricity plants. This report focuses on two aspects of biomass use: plant-site modifications, changes in operations, and costs associated with cofiring biomass; and the logistical issues associated with delivering biomass to the plant.
Supplying Biomass to Power Plants: A Model of the Costs of Utilizing Agricultural Biomass in Cofired Power Plants — 2011
U.S. power plants seek to diversify their fuel sources. Biomass energy is a renewable resource, generally with lower life-cycle greenhouse-gas emissions than fossil fuels. Prospective users need information about infrastructure, logistics, costs, and constraints for the full biomass life cycle. This model estimates the cost and availability of biomass energy resources from U.S. agricultural lands from the perspective of an individual power plant.
An Assessment of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's National Environmental Performance Track Program — 2010
This report addresses the conceptual basis, design, and implementation of the National Environmental Performance Track program. The voluntary program sought to encourage facilities to improve their environmental performance and provide a more collaborative relationship between facilities and regulators. While the program had mixed success, EPA should continue to seek out new approaches to complement and enhance traditional regulatory approaches.
Choosing policy responses to mitigate greenhouse gases (GHGs) is one of the great challenges that the United States faces. It will require balancing cost-effectiveness and other objectives that reflect the institutional and political realities of passing major federal legislation with widespread impacts on U.S. producers and consumers. This paper develops a framework for evaluating U.S. GHG-mitigation policy that balances several criteria.
Improving the Energy Performance of Buildings: Learning from the European Union and Australia — 2009
This study examines how policies to increase energy efficiency in buildings in the European Union and Australia have worked and draws implications for the design of similar public policies for the United States. It appears that effective policies to promote energy efficiency can be devised using information disclosure, building codes, financial incentives, and benchmarking. Insights are presented to help designers of analogous U.S. policies.
Integrating U.S. Climate, Energy, and Transportation Policies: Proceedings of Three Workshops — 2009
Three workshops on policies for mitigating climate change brought together representatives of government, industry, advocacy groups, and the research community to address the interconnection of climate change mitigation policy with the key sectors of energy and transportation. Competing energy and transportation interests can hamper progress in climate change; here, they shared different perspectives and identified some common points of view.
Strengthening U.S. International Energy Assistance to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Improve Energy Security — 2009
International energy-assistance programs are a potentially important tool for addressing the challenges of reducing global greenhouse gas emissions and increasing U.S. energy security. This study reviews U.S. programs and compares them with German programs, which take a different, more centralized approach. Insights from recent studies of U.S. energy and climate policy are presented, along with recommendations for further investigation.
Summarizes the remarks of three previous Department of Transportation secretaries — William T. Coleman, Jr., James H. Burnley IV, and Rodney Slater — at a panel discussion on transportation policymaking that was held in Washington, D.C., on January 29, 2009.