Climate Change, Communities and Resilience

In the face of climate change, communities are coming together to learn about resilience to slow moving disasters and implement adaptation strategies.

A man and young child leaning against a fence looking out into a field containing wind turbines. Photo by SolStock / Getty Images

Photo by SolStock / Getty Images

The RAND Climate Resilience Center, or CRC, addresses one of the most significant policy challenges of our time: changing how we plan, build, and organize our societal systems to become more resilient to the unavoidable impacts of climate change. This growing need is particularly relevant for water resources management, an area that includes freshwater supply, water quality assurance, flood risk management, and coastal planning. Water is a key area of concern when considering climate impacts, and one in which these impacts are already being felt from warming in recent decades.

RAND’s CRC conducts policy research and develops innovative tools to support decisionmakers at all levels of government as they confront challenges presented by climate change. RAND is uniquely suited to bring together cross-disciplinary research teams to identify emerging water and climate resilience challenges, apply innovative methods to tackle problems from multiple perspectives and address uncertainty that is often ignored, and recommend solutions that are effective and enduring.

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Aerial view of the coast of New Orleans, LA.

RAND researchers have developed analytical tools and decision frameworks to help communities understand their risks due to climate change and develop and prioritize adaptation and mitigation actions. For example, RAND played an integral role in the formulation of Louisiana's 2012 Comprehensive Master Plan for a Sustainable Coast. To support this planning effort, RAND developed a model of coastal flood risk, and was also responsible for developing the overall planning framework and a decision support tool.

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The Coastal Louisiana Risk Assessment (CLARA) analytical model was designed to estimate flood depths and damage that could occur due to major storms across a range of possible future scenarios. CLARA was used to estimate coastal flood depths and economic damage under different future scenarios with or without proposed risk reduction projects in place.

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These estimates, along with those from other models of coastal processes were used by the RAND-developed Planning Tool, to compare risk reduction and restoration projects based on how well they might reduce flood damage or build coastal land. The Planning Tool then developed and compared different groupings of potential risk reduction and restoration projects.The Planning Tool provided real-time technical analysis that supported the development of the Master Plan through Louisiana Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (CPRA) and community-based deliberations.

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Louisiana's 2012 Coastal Master Plan

The 2012 Coastal Master Plan website provides an overview of the plan and other relevant resources.

Coastal Master Plan 2012