Climate Change

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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

    Commentary

    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.

Explore Global Climate Change

  • High-tech analysis

    Journal Article

    Reinvigorating the Scenario Technique to Expand Uncertainty Consideration

    Scenarios are widely used for long-term climate and energy analysis.

    Feb 4, 2016

  • U.S. President Barack Obama waves at the conclusion of his State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress in Washington, January 12, 2016

    Blog

    State of the Union 2016: Insights on Obama's Last Address

    RAND research, analysis, and expertise provide context for many of the issues discussed in President Barack Obama's final State of the Union address, including the threat of ISIS, global climate change, and bringing peace to Syria.

    Jan 13, 2016

  • Participants are seen in silhouette as they look at a screen showing a world map with climate anomalies during the World Climate Change Conference 2015 (COP21) at Le Bourget, near Paris, France, December 8, 2015

    Commentary

    Paris Gets the (Decision) Science Right

    The framework for the Paris negotiations is in sync with what science tells us about how to make effective public policy decisions. This alone makes them historic and may provide a model for both local and global action on more than climate alone.

    Dec 18, 2015

  • Environmentalists hold a banner which reads in part, "For the Climate," near the Eiffel Tower during the World Climate Change Conference 2015

    Commentary

    COP21: Ambition and Momentum

    Negotiators in Paris achieved a historic breakthrough by adopting a fundamentally different, and likely more effective, institutional framework to address climate change. It builds on two concepts missing from past attempts to forge a global treaty: voluntary participation and adaptive policymaking.

    Dec 17, 2015

  • t-call-experts-hr

    Multimedia

    RAND Experts on the Paris Climate Change Accord

    RAND experts discuss the agreement adopted in Paris at the COP21 summit and discuss what comes next.

    Dec 17, 2015

  • The amphibious assault ship USS Wasp passes the guided-missile destroyers USS Cole and USS James E. Williams on its way to the pier in New Orleans, Louisiana

    Commentary

    Climate Change Is a National Security Issue, but Not for the Reasons You Think

    All U.S. policy decisions can and should be guided by clear evidence. Climate change policy is no exception. The United States should focus on addressing the clearest vulnerabilities, such as securing coastal defense infrastructure.

    Dec 16, 2015

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

    Commentary

    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

    Commentary

    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

    Commentary

    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

    Commentary

    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

    Project

    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

    Commentary

    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

  • A stream runs through the woods in autumn

    Report

    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

  • Culvert with a drop, with flowing water

    Project

    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

  • View of the Earth from space

    Essay

    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

    Commentary

    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

    Blog

    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