Climate Change


Global climate models developed by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predict glacial retreat, rises in sea level, and other impacts on human and natural activity, from agriculture to migratory patterns. RAND researchers have studied and are continuing to examine the effects of climate change, particularly how governments and businesses respond to both observed changes and projected scenarios.

  • U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping shake hands at the end of a news conference in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, November 12, 2014


    U.S.-China Global Warming Deal Could Signal Shift on Climate Change

    Dec 9, 2014

    The U.S.-China agreement on limiting greenhouse gas emissions represents a significant and welcome shift in the international approach to addressing climate change. For the first time, a large developing country has agreed to limit its greenhouse gas emissions—a crucial step since these countries have become the world’s largest sources.

  • City global warming concept art, photo by Kwest/Fotolia


    WCRC Helps Organizations Plan for Climate Challenges

    Dec 18, 2014

    The RAND Water and Climate Resilience Center conducts policy research and develops innovative tools to support decisionmakers at all levels of government as they confront challenges presented by climate change.

Explore Global Climate Change

  • The bones of a bowhead whale, a food source and cultural icon of the native Inupiat peoples who have lived in Alaska for centuries


    It's Getting Harder and Harder to Live on Top of the World

    In September, a relatively new kind of storm, made possible due to larger swaths of ice-free Arctic Ocean, battered Barrow, Alaska, washing away chunks of coastline, threatening businesses, houses, and the freshwater supply. While mitigation efforts are necessary on a macro level, adaptation measures are needed now for such Arctic communities.

    Nov 30, 2015

  • A man applies a sticker which reads 100% electric next to the logo of the upcoming COP21 Climate Change Conference on a Nissan LEAF electric car in Boulogne-Billancourt, France, November 16, 2015


    COP 21 Not a Silver Bullet on Climate Change

    The Paris climate conference cannot provide the engine that will drive a solution to the world's climate change challenge. Rather, it can best serve as a mediator that will help guide and structure the swirling, bottom-up process of radical change that is the best hope of preserving Earth's climate.

    Nov 24, 2015

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    Journal Article

    The Effect of Near-Term Policy Choices on Long-Term Greenhouse Gas Transformation Pathways

    This paper introduces a new agent-based, game theoretic model designed to compare how near-term choices regarding alternative policy architectures influence long-term emission reduction trajectories.

    Nov 23, 2015

  • The coastline in the Miraflores district of Lima, Peru


    Ensuring Robust Water Management Strategies in Lima-Callão, Peru

    Water resource agencies around the world are grappling with how to make smart investments to ensure long-term water reliability at a time of unprecedented water stress, growing demands, uncertain climate change, and limited budgets.

    Nov 16, 2015

  • Journal Article

    Embedding (Some) Benefit-Cost Concepts Into Decision Support Processes with Deep Uncertainty

    This paper argues that new approaches exist that can help reduce the tension between the benefits of providing useful, scientifically based information to decision makers and the costs of aggregating uncertainty and differing values into single best estimates.

    Nov 13, 2015

  • Commercial stores at the beach in Lima, Peru

    Journal Article

    Robust Decision-Making in the Water Sector: A Strategy for Implementing Lima's Long-Term Water Resources Master Plan

    This study helped SEDAPAL, the water utility serving Lima, Peru, answer the question of long-term water reliability by drawing on state of the art methods for decision making under deep uncertainty.

    Nov 11, 2015

  • Global climate change visualization


    Adapting to a Hotter World

    Because climate change is largely irreversible, mitigation alone won't solve the problem. While mitigation will prevent even greater, future climatic changes, adaptation — efforts to adjust to climate change's effects — will prepare the world for a new set of living conditions, whatever they may be.

    Oct 2, 2015

  • Pittsburgh skyline with Point State Park and the Allegheny River


    Resilient Stormwater Management in Allegheny County

    Allegheny County in southwestern Pennsylvania faces major challenges in managing its water resources, and lacks key information about climate change and future vulnerability. This study will provide a framework to evaluate options and identify cost-effective solutions.

    Oct 2, 2015

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping visits Boeing in Everett, Washington, September 23, 2015


    The U.S.-China Summit Is More Significant for Xi Jinping Than Obama

    The Xi-Obama summit will provide the opportunity to discuss contentious issues like cybersecurity and the South China Sea, as well as other issues, such as climate change and economic cooperation. For Xi, the visit underscores the tremendous importance of messaging to a Chinese audience the narrative of a continued stable and robust partnership with the country that matters most to China politically and economically.

    Sep 24, 2015

  • Culvert with a drop, with flowing water


    Managing Water Quality in the Face of Uncertainty: A Robust Decision Making Demonstration for EPA’s National Water ...

    Maintaining safe and reliable water supplies depends on timely investments in water treatment, storage, and delivery infrastructure. RAND has undertaken a project for the EPA to determine the utility of Robust Decision Making (RDM) methods for evaluating the agency's needs and priorities under the National Water Program.

    Sep 9, 2015

  • A stream runs through the woods in autumn


    Managing Water Quality in the Face of Uncertainty

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, along with state and local partners, develops and implements water quality plans. But uncertainty about the impacts of climate change and other factors may make it harder to meet water quality goals. Robust Decision Making can help better manage this uncertainty.

    Sep 9, 2015

  • View of the Earth from space


    Interdependence Day: Contending with a New Global Order

    A team of RAND experts took a sober look at the threats facing the United States and developed a playbook of strategies to address them.

    Aug 21, 2015

  • Engineer looking at factory emissions


    Climate Targets: Values and Uncertainty

    Policymakers know that the risks associated with climate change mean they need to cut greenhouse-gas emissions. But uncertainty surrounding the likelihood of different scenarios makes choosing specific policies difficult.

    Aug 11, 2015

  • The U.S. Capitol Building, Washington, DC


    The 2015 Summer Reading List for Congress

    With Capitol Hill slowing for August recess, this list of must-read research and commentaries will help ensure that policymakers are ready to dive right back in this fall.

    Aug 5, 2015

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    Strategic Rethink: Choices for America in a Turbulent World

    In this July 2015 Congressional Briefing, Ambassador James Dobbins discusses the report he coauthored with Howard Shatz and David Ochmanek, Choices for America in a Turbulent World. This is the first paper in the "Strategic Rethink" project, in which RAND researchers examine the most consequential choices that are likely to face this president and the next.

    Jul 24, 2015

  • News Release

    With Upcoming 2016 Election, Global Power Shifts Will Face the Next U.S. President

    Chaos in the Middle East, Russian intervention, Chinese assertiveness in the South China Sea, climate change, and a decline in U.S. military readiness have raised questions about how America envisions its role in a turbulent geopolitical environment. Nevertheless, the world is not falling apart and these difficulties are not beyond the United States' ability to manage.

    Jul 23, 2015

  • Glowing globe


    The RAND Strategic Rethink Project

    The RAND Strategic Rethink project explores important strategic questions facing the United States, producing a guide for policymakers, citizens, educators, and the media on the most critical global choices and challenges facing the country.

    Jul 23, 2015

  • World puzzle


    Choices for America in a Turbulent World

    Today, the United States faces no existential threat. Rather, it confronts an unusually wide and diverse array of challenges. What strategic choices does it have in dealing with these challenges—and tomorrow's?

    Jul 23, 2015

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    Fischbach and Groves Share Plans for RAND Water and Climate Resilience Center

    The RAND Gulf States Policy Institute hosted a discussion with WCRC codirectors Jordan Fischbach and David Groves at the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities in New Orleans, where Fischbach and Groves presented an overview of the center's research portfolio, emerging topics for RAND research, and the policy issues the center seeks to address.

    May 12, 2015

  • A road cuts through a forest on the island of Senja, north of the Arctic Circle in Norway


    Health Benefits of Addressing Climate Change

    Opponents of action to mitigate climate change often suggest that regulation could have a negative impact on jobs, but stakeholders need to consider benefits, too. For instance, lower emissions could produce savings in the form of lower health care costs, reductions in premature death, and greater well-being.

    Feb 4, 2015