Environmental Policy & Decisionmaking

Barges traveling up the Mississippi River towards New Orleans, Louisiana

Barges traveling up the Mississippi River towards New Orleans, Louisiana

photo by CampPhoto / Getty Images

Researchers in the RAND Community Health and Environmental Policy Program have long examined the positive and negative effects of human activities on the environment as well as policy interventions to enhance, reduce, or avoid those effects. This includes research on air and water quality, water availability, land management, and climate change. In addition, RAND research examines the connections between the environment and other policy issues such as infrastructure and health.

A central focus of RAND’s work on environmental policy is to use research and analysis to support decisionmaking by policymakers on current and emerging environmental challenges at local, national, and global levels. To this end, RAND developed the methodology of Robust Decision Making (RDM) to address complex issues like climate change and natural resources management. RAND's use of RDM and other methods has helped governments and stakeholders in their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and understand the effects of environmental regulation.

Environmental Policy

Addressing environmental challenges requires some degree of environmental decisionmaking and regulation. RAND researchers specialize in developing placed-based solutions to environmental challenges that are transferable to other contexts and scales.

Applications of Robust Decision Making

RAND researchers developed the methodology of Robust Decision Making (RDM) specifically to help inform policymakers on the topic of climate change. RDM has proven useful for coastal planning in Louisiana, water use regulation in Colorado and California.