Energy and Environment Issues

This page offers an easy way for policymakers to access energy and environment research and analysis that is relevant to current Congressional agendas. For additional information, to request documents, or to arrange a briefing, contact the RAND Office of Congressional Relations at or (703) 413-1100 x5395.

Recent Findings

  • Commentary

    Rethinking Disaster Evacuation

    Sep 11, 2017

    Before a storm hits, officials must decide whether to evacuate the public or advise them to shelter in place. Other, more targeted choices — such as sheltering in safer locations within a city — could be available if an analytic basis for making such judgments were fully developed.

  • Commentary

    Another Casualty of Climate Change: Peace

    Aug 15, 2017

    The connection between human conflict and climate change is no mere coincidence. Drought, temperature and tensions rise in tandem, with the implicit threat of violent conflict not far behind.

  • Commentary

    When It Comes to Climate, Look for Vulnerabilities in Policy, Not Science

    Aug 4, 2017

    Federal policymakers have picked up on the concept of red teaming — actively seeking out one's own vulnerabilities. While red teaming may not make sense for climate science, it does offer great benefits when weighing climate policy options.

  • Commentary

    Getting (Solar) Electricity Pricing Right

    Jul 24, 2017

    Demand for rooftop solar panels is soaring among U.S. homeowners. Meanwhile, states are struggling to adapt a 20th-century electrical grid—and the corresponding cost structure for electricity rates—to this 21st-century reality. This is causing confusion and uncertainty.

  • Commentary

    How Should Water Professionals Invest in Resilience?

    Jul 12, 2017

    Water professionals can think about building resilience as a process of embracing and managing future uncertainty. Rather than trying to predict which problem to plan for, researchers help planners consider a wide range of potential scenarios.

More Research on Energy and Environment


More Energy and Environment Briefings

Alerts & Newsletters

RAND periodically sends alerts and newsletters to update Congress on highlights of recent work about energy and the environment.

  • Getting Smarter About Smart Grids

    May 21, 2015

    With a fully functional smart grid, society could benefit from more efficient management, transmission, distribution, and consumption of electricity–but there are barriers to implementing this technology. Experts recommend that performance standards are developed at the federal level and that regulators consider forward-looking test cases.

  •'s Redesign: New Homepage and Navigation Optimization for All Devices

    Mar 20, 2014 has been reimagined to make high quality research and insights more accessible to Hill staff like you. The new homepage and updated navigation optimize content delivery for your preferred device and place our most timely content at your fingertips.

  • RAND Can Help Policymakers Strengthen Coastal Resilience

    Mar 13, 2014

    Tools developed by RAND for use in Louisiana can help policymakers in other coastal states weigh complex decisions on the many possible strategies to prevent coastal land loss, reduce flood risks, rebuild or restore coastal environments, and otherwise increase the resilience of developed coastlines.

  • Using Air Power Against Pirates Off West Africa

    Oct 25, 2013

    Piracy in the Gulf of Guinea has affected petroleum and natural gas production. RAND research recommends building the Nigerian Air Force's ability to provide surveillance and defend the offshore energy infrastructure.

  • SOTU Policy Preview

    Feb 11, 2013

    Preparing for the State of the Union address? Here is a preview of topics from President Obama's inaugural address that he may cover on Tuesday night, along with helpful links to related RAND analyses, reports, and commentary.

  • Converting Harmful Methane Emissions Into Useful Energy

    Feb 11, 2013

    Though methane does not stay in the atmosphere as long as carbon dioxide, it has 20 times the global warming potential. But methane can be captured and used, not only reducing methane emissions, but offering a cost-effective source of energy.

  • Options for an Organization to Manage and Dispose of Spent Nuclear Fuel and High-level Radioactive Waste

    Jan 11, 2013

    The nation must agree upon a solution to the spent-nuclear fuel problem that meets safety and environmental standards. Congress will need to work with the Obama administration to determine the best governance form. A study finds that the two most promising models are a federal government corporation or an independent government agency.

  • Looking Beyond the 2012 U.S. Election

    Oct 3, 2012

    As the U.S. presidential election draws to a close, there is increasing demand for simple answers to complex questions, immediate solutions to entrenched challenges, and ten-second sound bites to sum it all up. RAND has always focused on big, long-term, core public policy issues and has cultivated the farsighted perspectives required to address those issues.

  • Reusing Coal Mine Water for Marcellus Shale Extraction

    Apr 27, 2012

    First-ever national standards for air emissions from shale gas extraction preceded new national regulations related to water pollution from hydraulic fracturing, another key issue which has thus-far been left to the individual states.

  • Earth Day: RAND Energy and Environment Research

    Apr 19, 2012

    The RAND Corporation's Environment, Energy, and Economic Development Program helps lawmakers put policy proposals in context by analyzing the effects of existing and proposed energy policies on the environment.

  • Senior Staff SOTU Debrief from RAND Corporation

    Jan 25, 2012

    We've assembled a selection of RAND reports, journal articles, commentary, videos, and experts on these SOTU topics that provide you with analysis, insights, and ideas you can use in the months ahead.

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2010 and prior

November 12, 2010
Policy Implications of Alternative Spent Nuclear Fuel Management Strategies

Tom LaTourrette

Testimony presented before the Blue Ribbon Commission on America's Nuclear Future.

March 5, 2009
Research Priorities for Fossil Fuels

James T. Bartis

Testimony presented before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

November 28, 2007
Evaluating Alternative Organizational Structures to Revitalize the Economy of New Orleans

Kevin F. McCarthy

Testimony presented before the New Orleans City Council.

September 5, 2007
Research and Development Issues for Producing Liquid Fuels from Coal

James T. Bartis

Testimony presented before the House Science and Technology Committee, Subcommittee on Energy and Environment.

June 28, 2007
Policy Issues for Coal-to-Liquid Development

James T. Bartis

Testimony presented before the Commonwealth of Kentucky House Appropriations and Revenue Committee.

June 26, 2007
Policy Issues for Coal-to-Liquid Development: Addendum

James T. Bartis

Addendum to testimony before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on May 24, 2007.

May 24, 2007
Policy Issues for Coal-to-Liquid Development

James T. Bartis

Testimony presented before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

April 17, 2007
Policy Issues for Oil Shale Development

James T. Bartis

Testimony presented before the House Natural Resources Committee, Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources.

February 21, 2007
Beyond the Gas Tax: Alternatives for a Greener World

Martin Wachs

Testimony presented before the Los Angeles Field Hearing of the National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission.

September 26, 2006
Policy Issues for Alternative Fuels for Military Operations

James T. Bartis

Testimony presented to the House Armed Services Committee, Subcommittee on Readiness and Subcommittee on Terrorism, Unconventional Threats and Capabilities.

February 9, 2004
Strengthening Research & Development for Wind Hazard Mitigation

Charles Meade

Testimony presented to the House Committee on Science.

November 19, 2003
Bio-Terrorist Threat to Agricultural Livestock and Produce

Peter Chalk

Testimony presented before the Senate Government Affairs Committee.

June 24, 2003
Assessing Natural Gas and Oil Resources

Debra Knopman

Testimony presented before the House Committee on Resources, Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources.

April 18, 2002
Assessing Gas and Oil Resources in the Intermountain West

Debra Knopman

Testimony presented before the House Committee on Resources, Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources.

October 10, 2001
Terrorism, Infrastructure Protection and The U.S. Food and Agricultural Sector

Peter Chalk

Testimony presented to the Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, Restructuring and the District of Columbia, Committee on Government Affairs, U.S. Senate.

April 5, 2001
The U.S. Energy Crisis

Robert L. Hirsch

Testimony presented to the Subcommittee Clean Air, Wetlands, Private Property and Nuclear Safety, Committee on Environment and Public Works Committee, U.S. Senate.

More Testimony


More Energy and Environment Briefs