Focus Areas

Solar panels fields on the green hills, photo by LeoPatrizi/Getty Images

Photo by LeoPatrizi/Getty Images

Beginning in 2024, the RAND Center for Climate and Energy Futures is pursuing RAND-funded research on the following priorities.

Policy Implementation for Climate Action

Transforming global energy, industrial, and infrastructure systems is a fundamental component of revitalizing American communities, addressing the climate crisis, and reversing historical inequities.

Achieving such transformations requires rapidly scaling up climate-friendly technologies and removal of barriers to policy and investment, while opening opportunities for all Americans to both contribute to, and benefit from, the energy transition.

To this end, RAND's research work is centered on

  • building capacity at different levels of government to pursue effective climate strategies
  • assessing where investments are being made
  • identifying enabling conditions and barriers for policy implementation
  • evaluating the efficacy and equity of those investments for communities, nations, and the global climate.

Catastrophic Climate Risk

Climate change is widely recognized as a major risk to global society, with researchers and policymakers increasingly referring to it as a global emergency and even an existential threat to humanity. Nevertheless, the concept of existential climate risk is poorly framed, defined, and analyzed in the both the scientific literature and in the policy arena.

RAND experts endeavor to articulate what global catastrophic and existential risks mean in the context of climate change, the pathways and probabilities associated with such risks, and the risk management and contingency options for mitigating risk.

The Geopolitics of Energy Transitions

The shifting global climate and energy landscape could alter the prevailing geopolitics of natural resources, energy, and security as climate impacts put pressure on food, water, and energy. Even within the United States, geopolitical considerations shape interactions among federal, state, and local governments regarding climate action.

RAND researchers analyze the geopolitics of the energy landscape to better understand the determinants of fragility, energy markets, commerce and economic security, and changing geopolitical rivalries and allegiances—with the aim of informing policy solutions or diplomatic interventions.