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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • Protestors block trucks at the gate of a private-contractor company hired to shut off the water to residential customers with unpaid bills in Detroit, Michigan


    What Durban Can Teach Detroit: Getting Customers to Pay Their Water Bills

    South Africa is proving that governments in poor cities can provide water and collect payment without turning off the water spigot. Detroit and Baltimore might consider exploring models like this that have been successfully tested in even more challenging settings.

    Jul 29, 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