With oil prices collapsing, Saudi Arabia is facing similar problems that the Soviet Union faced decades ago. Saudi policymakers’ economic reform strategies also echo those of Mikhail Gorbachev. However, different from Gorbachev’s Soviet Union, Saud Arabia’s foreign policy is both confrontational and interventionist. Saudi seeks change, but hopes to keep it in bounds, and may want the world to remain a dangerous place.
Authors: Michael A. Levi and Edward Morse Barron's
As climate plays a growing role in energy markets, serious energy analysis can no longer choose to focus only on traditional energy economics and geopolitics, write Michael Levi and Ed Morse. Policymakers, analysts, companies, and investors that deal in traditional energy will need to become much more sophisticated in their understanding of climate policy.
Global leaders including the United States participated in the Paris Climate Change Conference (also called Conference of the Parties 21, or COP21), which took place November 30 to December 11, 2015. They extended negotiations one day and 195 nations adopted the Paris Agreement (FCCC/CP/2015/L.9/Rev.1). According to the UN's press release, the agreement's "main aim is to keep a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius and to drive efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels."
When oil prices plunged in 2014, many analysts predicted that major exporters would have to drastically cut supply or else risk fiscal and geopolitical instability. Michael Levi explains why these predictions have been proven wrong.
Senior officials from almost two hundred nations are meeting in Paris, France, for the twenty-first annual United Nations Conference of Parties (COP21), also known as the 2015 Paris Climate Conference. Below, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and Foreign Affairs magazine offer resources on the challenges of climate change.
Fiscal "breakeven" oil prices have become popular among analysts and decision-makers as indicators of oil-producing countries' economic and political stability, but there are limits to the insights that breakeven prices provide. Blake Clayton and Michael A. Levi assess the potential value and most important pitfalls involved in using fiscal breakeven oil prices.
The Paris talks have been built up as a critical moment for confronting climate change, making even the perception of success important for momentum on lowering carbon emissions, writes CFR’s Michael Levi.
Learn more about CFR’s mission and its work over the past year in the 2015 Annual Report. The Annual Report spotlights new initiatives, high-profile events, and authoritative scholarship from CFR experts, and includes a message from CFR President Richard N. Haass. Read and download »