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June 2017

Water and Climate Resilience Center

Research Highlights

Diggers working from a barge during the Barataria Basin landbridge shoreline protection, photo by CWPPRA

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

RAND has been a key partner in helping the Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) develop its 2012 and 2017 Coastal Master Plan for a Sustainable Coast. RAND supported Master Plan development through two separate, related efforts: 1) by creating the decision framework and Planning Tool [PDF] used to compare projects and formulate the specific plan, and 2) by developing and applying the Coastal Louisiana Risk Assessment (CLARA) [PDF] model to evaluate flood risk across the coast under future without action conditions and with different structural and nonstructural projects in place. The 2017 Coastal Master Plan refined the 2012 Plan by taking into account more updated estimates of plausible future conditions and presenting an updated set of projects for implementation. Read more »

RAND Partners with City of Pittsburgh on New Resilience Strategy

Over the past decade, Pittsburgh has built on its strength as a hub for education, technology, and medicine, but it continues to face challenges as a result of its industrial legacy, and 21st-century pressures from globalization, urbanization, and climate change. In March, the city released OnePGH: Pittsburgh's Resilience Strategy. Developed in partnership with RAND, the strategy will guide long-term, sustainable development in the region. Read more »

New Publications

Roberto Clemente Bridge and the Andy Warhol Bridge over Allegheny River in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, photo by Pgiam / Getty Images

Robust Stormwater Management in the Pittsburgh Region: A Pilot Study

April 24, 2017

Jordan R. Fischbach, Kyle Siler-Evans, Devin Tierney, Michael T. Wilson, Lauren M. Cook, Linnea Warren May

This report provides an independent study of how the stormwater problem in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania metropolitan region could grow with future climate, land use, or population change, and discusses potential long-term solutions using new analytical approaches developed by RAND. The analysis provides a baseline of scientific information intended to support ongoing regional coordination around stormwater management and water-quality planning. Read more »

The Cost and Affordability of Flood Insurance in New York City: Economic Impacts of Rising Premiums and Policy Options for One- to Four-Family Homes

March 27, 2017

Lloyd Dixon, Noreen Clancy, Benjamin M. Miller, Sue Hoegberg, Michael M. Lewis, Bruce Bender, Samara Ebinger, Mel Hodges, Gayle M. Syck, Caroline Nagy, et al.

This report examines flood insurance cost in New York City and homeowners' ability to afford it. It makes projections for how changes in flood maps and pricing practices of the National Flood Insurance Program might increase premiums, analyzes the potential consequences of those increases on households and communities, and develops and evaluates several different approaches for assisting households that have difficulty affording flood insurance. Read more »

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

March 19, 2017

David Groves, Debra Knopman, James Syme, Nidhi Kalra, Zhimin Mao

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. This document describes RAND's approach and results, including development of a mathematical simulation model of the Jinan water supply system and analysis of the system's performance if new strategies and investments were to be implemented. Read more »

Urban Responses to Climate Change: Framework for Decisionmaking and Supporting Indicators

December 7, 2016

Debra Knopman, Robert J. Lempert

This report presents a decisionmaking framework and supporting indicators to guide urban responses to climate change based on principles of risk governance, along with considerations of institutional arrangements and their economic and social context. The framework emphasizes identification of indicators of capacities and processes to implement, adapt, and transform policies, institutions, financing, and other actions to affect change. Read more »

Researcher Spotlight

Benjamin Preston

Benjamin Preston
Director, Infrastructure Resilience and Environmental Policy Program Senior Policy Researcher

Benjamin Preston is a senior policy researcher at the RAND Corporation, and director of RAND's Infrastructure Resilience and Environmental Policy Program. Prior to joining RAND, he served as the Deputy Director of the Climate Change Science Institute at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. While working at ORNL, he engaged in research on vulnerability and resilience of U.S. energy systems to climate variability and change as well as opportunities and constraints associated with climate risk management. In addition, he contributed to national and international scientific assessments including the National Climate Assessment and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Fifth Assessment Report. Previously, he served as a research scientist in Australia with the CSIRO's Division of Marine and Atmospheric Research and as a Senior Research Fellow at the Pew Center on Global Change. He received a B.S. in biology from the College of William and Mary and a Ph.D. in environmental biology from the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he also minored in public policy.

News, Events and Commentary

The Eiffel Tower is seen in front of the Sacre Coeur Basilica on Montmartre in Paris, France, during the 2015 World Climate Change Conference, Photo by Charles Platiau/Reuters

The Big Bet: Withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement

June 2, 2017

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. Read the commentary by Debra Knopman, Robert J. Lempert, and Jordan R. Fischbach »

Flooded neigborhoods in New Orleans, following Hurricane Katrina, seen from a Coast Guard damage assessment flight, photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Kyle Niemi / U.S. Coast Guard

Lousisana State Legislature Adopts 2017 Coastal Master Plan

June 4, 2017

The Louisiana state legislature unanimously adopted the 2017 Coastal Master Plan—continuing the state's aggressive 50-year, $50 billion plan to address its coastal land loss and hurricane flood risk challenges. RAND's Planning Tool and flood risk modeling played key roles in the development of this plan. Read more »

A still image from the documentary Managing Risk in a Changing Climate

Managing Risk in a Changing Climate

April 28, 2017

RAND's work on flood risk in Louisiana is featured in this short documentary on the state's response to a changing climate and rapid sea level rise. Watch the documentary  »

Women and children collecting water from the unimproved water source of Asengo Community. Asengo Community, Kisumu, Kenya, Photo by waterdotorg/

World Bank Selects Enhancing Climate Resilience of Africa's Infrastructure as Winner of "Africa Most Impactful Knowledge Product Award"

March 9, 2017

To celebrate the most impactful research and analysis on African development, the World Bank's Africa Knowledge Fest, held on February 22, 2017 in Washington, D.C., awarded its first-ever "Impact Award" to six project teams. A jury composed of researchers across World Bank units awarded Enhancing the Climate Resilience of Africa's Infrastructure—a project led by the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI), which RAND contributed to, along with KTH—as the second place winner. Robert Lempert and David Groves led the RAND research team for the project, which quantified the impacts of climate change on African water and energy infrastructure, identified and evaluated robust adaptation options, and formulated actionable recommendations for policy makers. Read more »

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