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.

  • An aerial view of Central Texas homes under water at Graveyard Point neighborhood community in the flood plain of Lake Travis, photo by RoschetzkyIstockPhoto / Getty Images

    Content

    Climate Research at RAND

    May 17, 2019

    RAND researchers have a long history of shedding light on the social and economic implications of a changing climate, its impacts on the natural environment, and the challenges it poses to communities, regions, and our national security.

  • A boy on a bicycle cools off from the extreme heat from an opened fire hydrant in Brooklyn, New York, July 2, 2018

    Commentary

    Triaging Climate Change

    Jan 23, 2019

    There are many opportunities to manage climate risk around the world, but not everything can be saved. Delaying triage of climate damages could leave societies making ad hoc decisions instead of focusing on protecting the things they value most.

Explore Global Climate Change

  • Vietnamese woman paddling a boat

    Journal Article

    Flood Risk Management in Ho Chi Minh City

    Ho Chi Minh City faces significant and growing flood risk. Recent risk reduction efforts may not work if climate and socio-economic conditions diverge from earlier projections. Robust decisionmaking can help Vietnam's capital develop integrated flood risk management strategies despite this uncertainty.

    May 1, 2013

  • houses destroyed by Hurricane Sandy

    Commentary

    Planning for Superstorms, Wildfires, and Deep Uncertainty

    The path to climate change preparedness should start at the intersection of resilience and robustness — that is, building resilient communities with the individuals and organizations within those communities making robust decisions, ones designed to work well over a wide range of ever-changing conditions.

    Apr 18, 2013

  • white empty room with open door

    Journal Article

    Exploring Scenarios that Illuminate Vulnerabilities and Robust Responses

    Scenarios can be hard to employ effectively, particularly in the context of contentious public policy debates with diverse stakeholders. Building on work in robust decision making and themes from the decision support literature, the authors propose a new concept that envisions scenarios as illuminating the vulnerabilities of proposed policies.

    Apr 1, 2013

  • coal and dollars

    Commentary

    A Gradually Escalating Carbon Tax Would Allow Businesses and Consumers Time to Prepare

    A conservative, cost-efficient response to climate change involves sending price signals to people and businesses now so that they take steps to reduce emissions, writes Keith Crane.

    Mar 29, 2013

  • President Barack Obama's State of the Union address on Capitol Hill in Washington, February 12, 2013

    Blog

    The State of the Union 2013

    The 2013 SOTU address will be remembered for its impassioned call for greater gun control just two months after Sandy Hook. But President Obama's second-term agenda can be characterized by its sheer breadth, reflecting the broad range of policy challenges facing the U.S. today.

    Feb 13, 2013

  • An ocean gas rig emits plumes of smoke

    Commentary

    Global Methane Initiative: Converting Harmful Emissions to Usable Energy

    Carbon dioxide has garnered the most attention in the climate change debate because it accounts for the bulk of greenhouse gas emissions. But there is good reason to worry about methane, say Nicholas Burger and Noreen Clancy.

    Feb 6, 2013

  • Jordan Fischbach

    Blog

    In Brief: Jordan R. Fischbach on Adapting to Climate Change on the Coast

    In this video, 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.

    Feb 6, 2013

  • An ocean gas rig emits plumes of smoke

    Report

    Outcome Evaluation of U.S. Department of State Support for the Global Methane Initiative

    A RAND study evaluated U.S. Department of State contributions to the Global Methane Initiative, an international partnership to promote methane recovery and reuse. The study focused on the strategic contributions and program activities and outcomes.

    Jan 30, 2013

  • Louisiana coast

    Multimedia

    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.

    Blog

    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

    Commentary

    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

    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

    Blog

    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

    Blog

    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

    Commentary

    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 7, 2012

  • Project

    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.

    Feb 9, 2012