Energy and Environment

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RAND energy and environmental analyses examine the implications of existing and proposed energy policies on the environment. Building on a long history of policy research, RAND helps balance the need for environmental protections and economic development.

  • Senior Policy Researcher Benjamin Preston, photo by Diane Baldwin/RAND Corporation

    Q&A

    The Science of Climate Policy: Q&A with Benjamin Preston

    Oct 22, 2019

    Benjamin Preston, a senior policy researcher and director of RAND's Community Health and Environmental Policy Program, specializes in climate risk and adaptation, disaster recovery, and resilience. In this Q&A, he discusses common misperceptions about climate change and how to decarbonize the U.S. economy.

  • An elderly couple leaves an evacuation center as a wildfire forces the center itself to be evacuated, Poway, California, October 21, 2007, photo by Mike Blake/Reuters

    Commentary

    Turning Off Power to Combat Wildfires Could Harm the Very People Who Need Protection

    Oct 28, 2019

    Intentionally shutting off power may be a practical way to prevent power lines from sparking wildfires. But is it worth the risks? Until more thoughtful and comprehensive decisions are made, planned power outages need to be planned better.

Explore Energy and Environment

  • A picture of multiple street signs in a flood

    Report

    Landscape Survey to Support Flood Apex National Flood Decision Support Toolbox: Definitions and Existing Tools

    This report summarizes the literature on resilience to flood risk, its analysis and measurement, and examples. It also catalogs decision support tools for flood mitigation and makes recommendations for further investigation of the tools.

    Sep 7, 2017

  • An electric car being recharched

    Report

    Process and Outcome Evaluation of the Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program

    Presents the results of a process and outcome evaluation of the California Energy Commission's Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program, relying on quantitative and qualitative methods.

    Sep 6, 2017

  • Disaster response team discusses an action plan

    Tool

    Getting To Outcomes® Guide for Community Emergency Preparedness

    This Getting To Outcomes guide helps with the planning, implementation, evaluation, continuous quality improvement, and sustainability of community emergency preparedness programs. It includes instructions, completed examples, and blank tools.

    Aug 21, 2017

  • Residential apartments next to the dried-up Ratanpura lake on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, India May 9, 2016

    Commentary

    Another Casualty of Climate Change: Peace

    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.

    Aug 15, 2017

  • A delivery drone flying over a city

    Report

    What's the Buzz? The City-Scale Impacts of Drone Delivery

    This report examines the developing technology for using drones to deliver packages and attempts to identify the societal impacts. In particular, the author estimates the potential effects on energy consumption, aerial congestion, and other outcomes.

    Aug 9, 2017

  • Journal Article

    Green Industrial Policy in Emerging Markets

    In this article, we review the evidence on the design and implementation of green industrial policies. We focus on emerging markets, and emphasize five lessons for the use of green industrial policy.

    Aug 8, 2017

  • Floating ice and iceberg in Antarctic Peninsula

    Commentary

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

    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.

    Aug 4, 2017

  • Lake Pontchartrain sunset

    Report

    Reducing Coastal Flood Risk with a Lake Pontchartrain Barrier

    A Lake Pontchartrain barrier could provide substantial damage reduction benefits—including reduced flood depths and preventing direct economic damage—for southeastern Louisiana, potentially amounting to billions of dollars saved per year.

    Aug 4, 2017

  • Journal Article

    Advancing Alternative Analysis: Integration of Decision Science

    Incorporating decision science into alternatives analysis would help companies and regulators to select alternatives to environmentally harmful ingredients.

    Aug 1, 2017

  • A house with energy-efficient solar panels on the roof

    Commentary

    Getting (Solar) Electricity Pricing Right

    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.

    Jul 24, 2017

  • Louisiana marsh scene, north shore of Lake Pontchartrain

    Journal Article

    Economic Evaluation of Coastal Land Loss in Louisiana

    Louisiana has lost approximately 1,880 square miles of land over the past 80 years. Projections suggest that in a future without action, the next 50 years could result in the loss of 1,750 additional square miles of land area.

    Jul 19, 2017

  • The Crescent City Connection (formerly Greater New Orleans Bridge) and Mississippi River in late afternoon

    Journal Article

    Economic Evaluation of Coastal Land Loss in Louisiana

    This report presents an economic evaluation of assets and activities at risk from land loss and associated storm damage in coastal Louisiana. The results show a significant level of risk to economic assets and activity in Louisiana.

    Jul 19, 2017

  • Parker Dam impounds Colorado River water into Lake Havasu, where it is pumped into the Colorado Aqueduct for delivery to Southern California, April 16, 2015.

    Commentary

    How Should Water Professionals Invest in Resilience?

    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.

    Jul 12, 2017

  • Aerial view of solar farm in central Texas

    Commentary

    Navigating the Uncertain Path to Decarbonization

    Deep decarbonization can reduce the risk of climate change, and it offers opportunities to reimagine energy, transportation, and infrastructure. But it could also fail in many ways. Diverse, independent actors need a shared understanding of its complexity and deep uncertainty to design a solution to this challenge.

    Jul 11, 2017

  • A tank belonging to special forces of the Libyan army enters the area of clashes with Islamist militants in their last stronghold in Benghazi, Libya, July 5, 2017

    Commentary

    How the Gulf Row Could Tear Libya Apart Even Further

    Since Gadhafi was removed from power, Gulf nations have been vying for position in Libya through proxy forces to influence political outcomes. Current tensions between Qatar and its neighbors are adding to the instability.

    Jul 7, 2017

  • Filling up a glass with water from a kitchen faucet

    Commentary

    Getting the Lead Out of Pittsburgh's Water

    Without an aggressive long-term strategy for replacing service lines, and collaboration among the water authority, public officials, and residents, lead in Pittsburgh's water will persist.

    Jul 3, 2017

  • Water line repair in a city street

    Report

    Pittsburgh's Options to Address Lead in Its Water

    Pittsburgh is struggling to manage and improve its aging water system, with a focus on elevated lead levels for many customers. What steps could help steer the city toward a permanent solution and protect future generations?

    Jun 27, 2017

  • Commercial Book

    Smart Markets for Water Resources: A Manual for Implementation

    This book combines explanation, examples, and detail to inform policymakers, large water users, environmental organizations, researchers, and a thirsty public.

    Jun 19, 2017

  • The Eiffel Tower is seen in front of the Sacre Coeur Basilica on Montmartre in Paris, France, during the 2015 World Climate Change Conference

    Commentary

    The Big Bet: Withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement

    America's formal withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement could have far-reaching consequences for U.S. global leadership on many issues, not just on efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

    Jun 2, 2017

  • Tool

    Regional Maps of the Appalachia Partnership Initiative Region

    The interactive tool highlights the geographic reach of Appalachia Partnership Initiative programs that address STEM K-12 education and workforce development needs in the Greater Pittsburgh area's advanced manufacturing and energy sectors.

    May 31, 2017