Global Climate Change

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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.

  • A map of Los Angeles County with the words '88 Cities + the County". Graphic by Glory Film Co. Philanthropy

    Report

    California's Edible Food Recovery Mandate: One Solution for Two Problems

    Organic waste in landfills emits 20 percent of California's methane, and about 1.1 million tons of potentially donatable food were discarded in 2018. California's food recovery mandate, Senate Bill 1383, could make an important contribution toward mitigating the climate crisis and food insecurity.

    Jun 21, 2022

  • A still frame from a short film created by artist-in-residence V+J. The video summarizes RAND’s 2021 paper on geoengineering as a tool to address global warming.

    Project

    The Risks of Geoengineering

    Geoengineering—the intentional manipulation of the climate—could help curb global warming, but it could also have world-altering consequences. In a new animated video, RAND artists-in-residence Juan Delcan and Valentina Izaguirre take a lighthearted look at this serious issue.

    Apr 27, 2022

Explore Global Climate Change

  • Laborers work at a road construction site in Kolkata, India, February 27, 2017

    Commentary

    How Hot Is Too Hot? Rising Temperatures and the Workplace

    Climate change is here. Future extreme heat waves are a given and will likely grow in intensity, geographic reach, and duration. Plans must be made now to ensure survival of the poorest, to protect outdoor workers, and to adapt economic planning to what is increasingly becoming a hotter planet.

    Nov 16, 2017

  • Thomas Point Light near Annapolis, MD

    Report

    Planning for Climate Change in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed

    There is a wealth of data and climate information that could help improve the resilience of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. Increased flooding, rising temperatures, and the potential for extreme rainfall events will impact future decisions about transportation, land, and water management.

    Oct 27, 2017

  • Periodical

    Periodical

    RAND Review: November-December 2017

    This issue highlights recent RAND research on post-9/11 military caregivers; RAND-Lex, a computer program built at RAND that can analyze huge data sets of text; and the implications of climate change on Arctic cooperation.

    Oct 19, 2017

  • Arctic waters

    Q&A

    Policy Challenges in the Arctic: Q&A with Abbie Tingstad

    Abbie Tingstad discusses how the opening of the Arctic by climate change could strain relationships among Arctic nations, how these changes will affect indigenous communities, and what to make of Russia's military buildup in the region.

    Oct 6, 2017

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Demonstrating the Applicability of a Robust Decision Making (RDM) to Conservation Decision-Making Under Uncertain Future Climate: Pilot Study Using the Northern Pygmy Salamander (Desmognathus Organi)

    This study suggests initial ideas for managing climate uncertainty in conservation planning. Differences with previous RDM applications include focus on finer scale geography and significantly more uncertainty in the system (species response) model.

    Oct 3, 2017

  • People walk alongside the Tujunga Wash urban stream in Los Angeles

    Journal Article

    A Climate Stress Test of Los Angeles' Water Quality Plans

    Overall, this study suggests that climate change and land use can significantly affect TMDL implementation plans; identifies how one such plan might be modified to address the resulting vulnerabilities; and demonstrates how robust decision making methods, employed with existing simulation models, may be able to generate legally acceptable plans that are robust and flexible in the face of climate and other uncertainties.

    Sep 20, 2017

  • Research Brief

    Research Brief

    Mapping Vulnerability to Heat Waves in India

    Using district-level data on demographic, social, economic, health, and environmental factors, RAND researchers created the first-ever tool for measuring and mapping India's population's vulnerability to heat waves: the Heat Vulnerability Index.

    Sep 15, 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • Ice Camp Sargo in the Arctic Circle was the main stage for ICEX 2016, an exercise designed to research, test, and evaluate operational capabilities in the region

    Commentary

    What Does 'America First' Look Like in the Arctic?

    The shift in U.S. climate policy away from greenhouse gas reduction is significant for the Arctic, which is experiencing global warming at an accelerated rate. And a recent executive order will pave the way for expanded oil and gas drilling. How will these changes shape the Arctic in years to come?

    May 25, 2017

  • Young businessman in front of two roads crossroads

    Commentary

    Decision-Making Under Uncertain Climate Change: A Response, and an Invitation, to Bret Stephens

    It is difficult to determine what actions balance society's goals where there is deep uncertainty about the consequences. The decisionmaking under uncertainty methodology provides tools to acknowledge uncertainty, avoid overconfidence, promote deliberation, and help craft consensus on sensible approaches to climate change.

    May 9, 2017

  • Ugandan chefs display their creations at the first Superfoods Contest in December 2015

    Commentary

    A New Ugandan Cuisine: Showcasing Superfood Qualities of Millet and Sorghum

    The results of a series of cooking contests in Uganda to promote the use of drought-tolerant, nutritious traditional grains—millet and sorghum—signal that a new food trend may be on the horizon.

    May 9, 2017

  • Steam rises from the coal-fired Jim Bridger power plant outside Rock Springs, Wyoming, April 5, 2017

    Commentary

    Impact on the Environment from President Trump's First 100 Days

    President Trump's actions have not yet resulted in demonstrable change in environmental conditions or funding. But the groundwork is being laid to unwind major regulations and diminish staff at the EPA and other federal agencies with climate-related research in their portfolios.

    May 4, 2017

  • A view of downtown Pittsburgh, the Sixth Street Bridge, and the Allegheny River

    Report

    Robust Stormwater Management in the Pittsburgh Region

    The city of Pittsburgh and its surrounding region face significant—and potentially growing—stormwater management challenges. Analysis can help better understand the system's vulnerabilities and identify solutions.

    Apr 24, 2017

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Heat Wave Vulnerability Mapping for India

    Indexing relative variation in heat-related vulnerability across all of India can help planners, policy makers, and disaster mitigation experts target climate adaptation efforts.

    Apr 4, 2017

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Anthropogenic Warming Impacts on California Snowpack During Drought

    Anthropogenic warming reduced average snowpack levels by 25%, with middle-to-low elevations experiencing reductions between 26 and 43%. Further snowpack declines of 60–85% are expected, depending on emissions scenario.

    Mar 28, 2017

  • Baotu Spring in Jinan City, Shandong, China

    Report

    Evaluation of the Jinan City Water Ecological Development Implementation Plan and Recommendations for Improvement

    RAND evaluated potential effects of uncertain projections of demand and climate change on the ability of the Jinan Municipal Water Resources Bureau to meet its long-term water resources goals for Shandong Province's capital city.

    Mar 9, 2017