Environmental Regulation


Environmental regulations attempt to protect public health and the environment from pollution by industry and development. RAND research has sought to develop methods for collecting interpretable, quantitative information about the costs and benefits of environmental regulations in areas where compliance imposes a financial burden, awareness of the health risks of noncompliance is lower, and officials are less trusting of the data on which regulations are based.

Explore Environmental Regulation

  • 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

  • The humanoid robot AILA (artificial intelligence lightweight android) operates a switchboard during a demonstration at the CeBit computer fair in Hanover, Germany, March, 5, 2013


    How to Overcome the Risks of Artificial Intelligence

    The warnings and promises of artificial intelligence aren't new, but advances in technology make them more pressing.

    Oct 22, 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

  • Residents do morning exercises at a park on a hazy day in Shenzhen, Guangdong province February 12, 2015


    China at Home: Marrying Prosperity and Well-Being

    As China strives to sustain its upward economic trajectory, it must also address its domestic problems—such as air pollution and the challenges presented by its aging population—if its people are to share fully in the rewards of economic development and expansion.

    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

  • 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

  • Forbidden City on a foggy day in Beijing, China


    China Can Fix Its Severe Pollution Problem

    China's economic transformation over the last three decades has produced potentially deadly air pollution its people inhale every day. But an investment of $215 billion annually could substantially reduce pollution, lessen its drag on productivity, spare the lungs of countless people, and save lives.

    Jan 19, 2015

  • EPA administrator Gina McCarthy announces steps under the Clean Air Act to cut carbon pollution from power plants during a news conference on June 2, 2014


    New Coal Plant Rules Need Sustained Support to Succeed

    Stopping climate change will require the U.S. and the rest of the world to virtually eliminate emissions over the course of the 21st century. Getting anywhere close to zero emissions demands sustained political and public support, driven by an energy production sector given enough incentives.

    Jun 30, 2014

  • illustration of cars, trucks, buses, and helicopter traveling in a city


    What Mobility Might Look Like in the U.S. in 2030

    Mobility — the ability to travel from one location to another — may look very different in the United States in the year 2030. Three key drivers differentiate possible scenarios: the price of oil, the development of environmental regulations, and the amount of highway revenues and expenditures.

    Oct 28, 2013

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    Analytic Tools To Evaluate Policies For Market Transformations

    Limiting climate change requires a transformation of energy and transportation systems. RAND researchers designed a policy simulation tool and supporting decision framework to examine how alternative designs of market-based policy instruments might or might not facilitate such transformations.

    Sep 24, 2013

  • natural gas drilling in Dimock, PA


    The Environmental Costs of Emissions from Shale Gas Extraction

    Further study, including primary data collection in regions where extraction is occurring, will be important to track the magnitude of emissions and to ensure that Pennsylvania's permit requirements are adequate to protect human health and the environment, writes Aimee Curtright.

    Feb 14, 2013

  • An ocean gas rig emits plumes of smoke


    Global Methane Initiative: Converting Harmful Emissions to Usable Energy

    Carbon dioxide has garnered the most attention in the climate change debate because it accounts for the bulk of greenhouse gas emissions. But there is good reason to worry about methane, say Nicholas Burger and Noreen Clancy.

    Feb 6, 2013

  • News Release

    Examining Different Forms of Organizations for Managing and Disposing of Spent Nuclear Fuel and High-Level Radioactive ...

    A federal government corporation and an independent government agency are the two most promising models for a new organization to manage and dispose of spent nuclear fuel and high-level radioactive waste in the United States.

    Jan 11, 2013

  • Marcellus Shale rig and gas well operation

    Journal Article

    Estimating Regional Air-Quality Damages from Marcellus Shale Natural Gas Extraction in Pennsylvania

    Producing natural gas from shale generates air pollutant emissions. RAND researchers provided a first-order estimate of air emissions, and the monetary value of the associated damages, from the extraction of shale gas in Pennsylvania.

    Jan 1, 2013

  • Report

    Reconsidering California Transport Policies: Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions in an Uncertain Future

    Applies robust decision methods to evaluate California's transportation policies that considers multiple views of the future, and identifies strategies that consistently reduce emissions at acceptable costs regardless of future conditions.

    Jan 20, 2012

  • Soldiers walking through Afghan wheat field


    Near-Term Opportunities for Integrating Biomass into the U.S. Electricity Supply

    Biomass is an increasingly important source of electricity, heat, and liquid fuel. One near-term option for using it to generate electricity is to cofire biomass in coal-fired electricity plants. Factors to consider are plant-site modifications, changes in operations, costs, and logistical issues with delivering biomass to the plant.

    Jul 29, 2011

  • News Release

    Alternative Fossil Fuels Have Economic Potential but Uncertain Environmental Consequences

    Alternative sources of fossil fuels such as oil sands and coal-to-liquids have significant economic promise, but the environmental consequences must also be considered.

    Oct 8, 2008

  • News Release

    RAND Says Further Study Warranted on Save the World Air Technology

    May 3, 2007 news release: RAND Says Further Study Warranted on Save the World Air Technology.

    May 3, 2007

  • Commentary

    Green But Unsafe

    Published commentary by RAND staff: Green But Unsafe, in Wall Street Journal, Europe Edition.

    Apr 18, 2007

  • People

    Matthew Cefalu

    Associate Statistician
    Education Ph.D. in biostatistics, Harvard University; M.S. in statistics, Texas A&M University; B.S. in applied mathematical sciences, Texas A&M University