Global Climate Change


Global climate models developed by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predict glacial retreat, rises in sea level, and other impacts on human and natural activity, from agriculture to migratory patterns. RAND researchers have studied and are continuing to examine the effects of climate change, particularly how governments and businesses respond to both observed changes and projected scenarios.

  • The hydroelectric dam Cachi in Ujarras de Cartago, 60 miles of San Jose, Costa Rica, May 25, 2007, photo by Juan Carlos Ulate/Reuters


    The Benefits and Costs of Decarbonizing Costa Rica's Economy

    Nov 24, 2020

    Costa Rica set the ambitious goal of becoming carbon-neutral by 2050. An evaluation of the benefits and costs of its National Decarbonization Plan finds that under most plausible assumptions about the future, the plan would achieve or nearly achieve its goals and do so at a net economic benefit.

  • A house burning along Cherry Glen Road during the LNU Lightning Complex Fire on the outskirts of Vacaville, California, August 19, 2020, photo by Stephen Lam/Reuters

    Research Brief

    How Wildfire Risks Affect California's Insurance Market

    Sep 14, 2020

    Wildfires in California destroy thousands of structures each year, devastating homeowners and bringing heavy costs for insurers. And without an aggressive GHG emissions control strategy, climate change will likely increase the risk of wildfires in some areas. How will insurance markets respond?

Explore Global Climate Change

  • Louisiana coast


    Adapting to Climate Change on the Coast: Lessons from Louisiana for Federal Policy

    In this January 2013 Congressional Briefing, Jordan Fischbach discusses how RAND helped Louisiana develop its 2012 Coastal Master Plan and key lessons that can make other communities more resilient in the face of natural disasters.

    Jan 23, 2013

  • weighing scale with money and earth

    Journal Article

    Improving the Use of Climate Model Information in Decision Making

    The severe underutilization of climate models as tools for supporting decision making is slowing progress in developing informed adaptation and mitigation responses to climate change. Addressing the root causes of this problem will require expanding the conception of climate models as scenario generators.

    Jan 1, 2013

  • Sheila C. Bair during the 'Assessing Risk: Where Will it Come From' panel discussion Friday, Nov. 16, 2012 at the RAND Politics Aside Event in Santa Monica, Calif.


    Economic and Security Experts on What Keeps Them Awake at Night

    Former FDIC Chair Sheila Bair, former Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Admiral James Loy, economist Stephen Roach and others talk with Reuters Editor-in-Chief Stephen Adler on a panel called Assessing Risk: Where Will it Come From? at RAND's Politics Aside event.

    Nov 27, 2012

  • Gas prices - 10/18/12 - Santa Monica, CA


    Two Unspoken Issues in the Presidential Energy Debate

    Both candidates glossed over two issues: the myth that independence from imported oil will reduce gasoline prices and the policies that will be needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and temper climate change, writes Keith Crane.

    Nov 6, 2012

  • globe and sun

    Journal Article

    Shared Socio-economic Pathways Offer New Approach for Climate Change Analysis

    Developing an integrated perspective on mitigation, adaptation and residual climate impacts could be aided by identifying a set of global narratives and socio-economic pathways offering scalability to different regional contexts.

    Oct 1, 2012

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Comment on Doug Kysar's "What Climate Change Can Do About Tort Law"

    In this Response, the author sketches two problems with Professor Doug Kysar's argument regarding climate change litigation and effect on tort law.

    Aug 1, 2012

  • sunset port of los angeles

    Journal Article

    Characterizing Uncertain Sea Level Rise Projections to Support Investment Decisions

    Many institutions worldwide are considering how to include expectations about future sea level rise into their investment decisions regarding large capital infrastructures.

    Jun 1, 2012

  • Sun shining through clouds over a grassy field


    Earth Day and RAND

    As people around the world prepare for the 42nd annual Earth Day this Sunday, we look back at some of the recent research from RAND's Environment, Energy, and Economic Development program.

    Apr 20, 2012

  • A woman using a digital tablet while her husband reads a newspaper


    Energy Services Analysis Can Identify Ways to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

    Changing how a service is provided can create opportunities to conserve energy. A new RAND study does just that, using Energy Services Analysis to identify and evaluate new ways to reduce energy use and lower greenhouse gas emissions.

    Apr 18, 2012

  • Report


    Energy Services Analysis Can Identify Ways to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions

    By examining not only how a service is produced but how it is provided, energy services analysis can lead to greater reductions in energy use and greenhouse gas emissions than conventional approaches.

    Apr 10, 2012

  • Vehicle emissions in a traffic jam


    Evidence for Climate Change Is Overwhelming

    In case after case, the theory that best fits the data is the one that also leads inexorably to the conclusion that human influence is one of the most important forces currently changing the climate, writes Robert J. Lempert.

    Mar 8, 2012

  • Report

    Threats Without Threateners?

    Three issues with far-reaching causes and consequences—climate change, water scarcity, and pandemics—are examined with attention to their national security implications and impacts on the global commons.

    Jan 10, 2012

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Potentials for Sustainable Transportation in Cities to Alleviate Climate Change Impacts

    Reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) is an important social goal to mitigate climate change. A common mitigation paradigm is to consider strategy "wedges" that can be applied to different activities to achieve desired GHG reductions.

    Jan 1, 2012

  • parched desert landscape

    Journal Article

    Comparing Robust Decision Making and Info-Gap Methods for Climate Policy

    An examination of Info-Gap and RDM finds that the two approaches reach similar but not identical policy recommendations and that their differing attributes raise important questions about their appropriate roles in decision support applications.

    Jan 1, 2012

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Investment Decision Making Under Deep Uncertainty: Application to Climate Change

    This paper summarizes the additional uncertainty that is created by climate change, and reviews the tools that are available to project climate change (including downscaling techniques) and to assess and quantify the corresponding uncertainty.

    Jan 1, 2012

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Scenario Uncertainties in Estimating Direct Land-Use Change Emissions in Biomass-To-Energy Life Cycle Assessment

    The use of biomass for energy production has increasingly been encouraged in the United States, in part motivated by the potential to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions relative to fossil fuels.

    Jan 1, 2012

  • tuscany, agriculture, cultivate, landscaped, tractor, machine, wheel, technology, sow, hill, sky, summer, outdoor, fertilizer, ground, wheat, italy, countryside, country, work


    Calculating Uncertainty in Biomass Emissions (CUBE) Model

    CUBE 2.0, an update of the 2010 release of the 1.0 version, allows users to estimate the "farm-to-gate" greenhouse gas emissions of biomass feedstocks for energy production, as well as the uncertainty in these emissions.

    Dec 16, 2011

  • A world map formed by standing people, illustration by 300_librarians/Getty Images


    Seven Billion? No Need to Panic

    We cannot wish away serious ecological issues, such as the steady increase in greenhouse gases or the steady decrease in critical resources (e.g., phosphates). But population growth per se need not portend ecological catastrophe, writes Martin Libicki.

    Nov 4, 2011

  • Events @ RAND Audio Podcast


    California's Water Challenges

    David Groves discusses an innovative approach to dealing with the many challenges that may contribute to sustainable and affordable solutions of long term water supplies in California.

    Oct 25, 2011

  • Periodical


    Beyond the Shadow of 9/11

    The 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks warrants a thoughtful review of America's progress and future strategy. In this RAND Review cover story, RAND experts offer perspectives on Afghan-led solutions, ways to counter al Qaeda, air passenger security, and compensation for those affected by terrorism.

    Sep 1, 2011