The Natural Environment

Featured

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

  • Communities are seen surrounded by water and wetlands in Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana, August 25, 2015

    Commentary

    Environmental Impact Bonds May Not Bear Fruit for Green Investors

    Investors may be willing to accept a lower return for socially responsible investments. But environmental impact bonds may not be the best way to leverage these investment possibilities.

    Nov 26, 2017

  • Labourers work at a road construction site early morning 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 need to 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 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

    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

    Commentary

    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

    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

    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

  • 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