CLASP Research Area: Environment

Amazon River

CLASP researchers are investigating two issues at the top of Latin America’s environmental policy agenda: deforestation and access to safe water.

Tropical deforestation is estimated to account for 20 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions. “Avoided deforestation,” an economic-environmental program design in which developing countries are compensated for reducing emissions from deforestation, is seen by experts as an efficient and inexpensive way to reduce carbon emissions. CLASP researchers are studying how monitoring, enforcement, and incentives can be best combined to reduce emissions from deforestation, and how resources generated from carbon trading might improve the living standards of forest-dependent populations.

CLASP researchers also are exploring means to expand access to safe drinking water. One-third of rural Latin Americans lack access to safe water, a predicament that leads to a variety of water-borne illnesses. Researchers are looking at barriers to the adoption of technologies such as chlorine and filters, which can rapidly expand access to safe drinking water.

Research Projects

  • Can Payment for Environmental Services Save the Rainforest?

    The Forest Allowance Program (Programa Bolsa Floresta) is an avoided deforestation initiative in Brazil that pays the local population a monthly allowance for environmental services and increases deforestation monitoring and enforcement. RAND is studying this and similar initiatives to determine their success in reducing deforestation.