The Natural Environment


As scientists learn more about how the environment responds to human activity, it has become an area of increasing concern to the global community. RAND research has helped inform policies and direct further studies of environmental issues, from building efficiency and natural resource management to risk management and decisionmaking in the face of deep scientific and economic uncertainties.

  • 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 The Natural Environment

  • 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

  • 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

  • A lake surrounded by trees

    Journal Article

    An Open Source Framework for Many-Objective Robust Decision Making

    This study introduces a new open source software framework to support bottom-up environmental systems planning under deep uncertainty with a focus on many-objective robust decision making (MORDM), called OpenMORDM

    Nov 6, 2015

  • Report

    Quality of Life Indicators and Policy Strategies to Advance Sustainability in the Pearl River Delta

    Proposes a system of quality of life indicators and identifies policy options to improve quality of life in the Pearl River Delta, a region of Guangdong Province in southeastern China.

    Nov 6, 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

  • 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

  • Events @ RAND Audio Podcast


    California's Drought and Water Policy

    California has implemented numerous policy changes to cope with a record-breaking, four-year drought. In this Events @ RAND podcast, a panel of experts discuss what government agencies can do to better manage water resources, what methods are most effective at encouraging citizens to use water wisely, and how leaders can better plan for future climate crises.

    Sep 30, 2015

  • Report

    Environmental Fitness and Resilience: A Review of Relevant Constructs, Measures, and Links to Well-Being

    This report identifies key environmental stressors experienced by Airmen and examines key resilience factors in the domain of environmental fitness, focusing specifically on prevention and protective measures.

    Sep 29, 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

  • map of united states


    Examining the Impact of the RAND Gulf States Policy Institute

    Established in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina, the RAND Gulf States Policy Institute tackles tough questions in the topic areas relevant to the region's long-term economic development and the well-being of its residents. This overview highlights research projects related to coastal protection and restoration, community resilience, housing, health and mental health, education, and public safety.

    Sep 21, 2015

  • New York, NY, USA - October 31, 2012: NYPD police emergency response vehicle parked in the streets of Lower Manhattan in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in New York, NY, USA, on October 31, 2012.


    Partnerships for Recovery Across The Sectors (PRACTIS) Toolkit

    The Partnerships for Recovery Across The Sectors (PRACTIS) toolkit employs a survey, a quality improvement guide, and a recovery exercise to strengthen disaster recovery partnerships between local health departments and community-based organizations.

    Sep 15, 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

  • Local residents take pictures as U.S. President Barack Obama visit an area reconstructed after Hurricane Katrina during a presidential visit to New Orleans, Louisiana, August 27, 2015


    What Hurricane Katrina Taught Us About Community Resilience

    Hurricane Katrina left a path of destruction, death, and suffering in its wake. Its recovery, halting and incomplete as it has been, has taught us valuable lessons about resiliency.

    Sep 8, 2015

  • Cooling towers of a nuclear power plant


    Overcoming Obstacles to Advanced Nuclear Reactor Technologies

    If nuclear fission is to play a big role in the future of the U.S. energy supply, a more cost-effective type of nuclear power plant must be commercialized. But there are barriers to commercializing next-generation nuclear reactors. How can policymakers overcome them?

    Aug 31, 2015

  • Tourists walk past the entrance to the Hurricane Katrina Memorial, New Orleans, Louisiana, August 23, 2015


    Hurricane Katrina: 10 Years After the Storm

    This weekend marks 10 years since Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast. As the region struggled to cope and rebuild after the storm, RAND experts worked on solutions to the region's long-term challenges.

    Aug 27, 2015