The Natural Environment

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As scientists learn more about how the environment responds to human activity, it has become an area of increasing concern to the global community. RAND research has helped inform policies and direct further studies of environmental issues, from building efficiency and natural resource management to risk management and decisionmaking in the face of deep scientific and economic uncertainties.

  • Floating ice and iceberg in Antarctic Peninsula, photo by reisegraf/Getty Images

    Commentary

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

    Aug 4, 2017

    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.

  • City global warming concept art, photo by Kwest/Fotolia

    Content

    WCRC Helps Organizations Plan for Climate Challenges

    Dec 18, 2014

    The RAND Water and Climate Resilience Center conducts policy research and develops innovative tools to support decisionmakers at all levels of government as they confront challenges presented by climate change.

Explore The Natural Environment

  • 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

    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

  • Frederick M. "Ralph" Taylor

    Content

    Frederick M. "Ralph" Taylor: Getting to Carbon-Zero

    Private investor Frederick M. “Ralph” Taylor established the Metanoia Fund nearly 30 years ago to support environmental causes and search for solutions to our warming climate. He partnered with RAND to identify and assess pathways to carbon-zero through a series of workshops that bring together researchers, philanthropists, policymakers, and innovators.

    Sep 14, 2017

  • Disaster response team discusses an action plan

    Tool

    Getting To Outcomes® Guide for Community Emergency Preparedness

    This Getting To Outcomes guide will help 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • Louisiana marsh scene, north shore of Lake Pontchartrain

    Journal Article

    Economic Evaluation of Coastal Land Loss in Louisiana

    This study quantifies the economic assets and activity that is at risk from the process of land loss in coastal Louisiana in a future without restoration and protection efforts to minimize or mitigate land loss.

    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

  • An iceberg floats past an ice shelf in the North Atlantic.

    Project

    Potential Tipping Points in a Transition to a Net Zero Future

    In December 2015, the first-ever legally binding global climate deal was signed at the Paris climate conference. 195 countries committed a global action plan aimed at limiting global warming to well below 2°C. The agreement recognizes the need of net zero emissions (NZE), implying to strike a balance between anthropogenic emissions (i.e. caused by humans) by sources and removals by sinks of greenhouse gases.

    Jun 23, 2017

  • Aerial shot of coastal wetlands, Louisiana

    Project

    RAND's Support of Louisiana's 2017 Coastal Master Plan

    RAND's researchers have supported development of Louisiana's 2017 Coastal Master Plan.

    Jun 8, 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

  • A mother and her child walk along the Ganges river during a dust storm on a hot summer day in Allahabad, India, June 9, 2015

    Commentary

    Where Are India's Heat Hotspots?

    Poverty, poor sanitation, a precarious water and electricity supply, and limited access to health care make India vulnerable to heat waves. Rural and urban districts could improve their preparedness by developing and targeting local adaptation strategies.

    May 17, 2017

  • Person consulting a smart watch with GPS technology

    Commentary

    Using Wearable Fitness Devices to Monitor More Than Just Fitness

    Manufacturers could reinvigorate the market for personal health devices by incorporating measures of health and well-being beyond step counts. Wearables could gauge a neighborhood's air quality, safety, or its level of social connectedness.

    May 14, 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

  • 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