Energy and Environment

Article

Falling Oil Prices, the Saudis, and the Soviets

Author: Stephen Sestanovich
Wall Street Journal

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.

See more in Saudi Arabia; Oil; Russian Federation

Other Report

Reach for the Sun: How India’s Audacious Solar Ambitions Could Make or Break its Climate Commitments

Author: Varun Sivaram

In this report, Varun Sivaram and co-authors argue that three very different segments of the Indian solar industry—utility-scale, distributed, and off-grid solar—will be required to deliver both climate results and domestic co-benefits to India. In addition, the Indian national and state governments, with the support of countries and institutions around the world, can advance the development of three diverse segments of the solar industry—utility-scale, distributed, and off-grid solar— by pursuing four building blocks of a successful solar strategy: (1) Reform the utility sector; (2) Harmonize federal and state policies; (3) Secure substantial and cost-effective financing; and (4) Foster the diffusion of technology and standards from abroad.

See more in India; Energy and Environment

Article

Two Meetings That Can Shape Oil Markets

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.

See more in Global; Financial Markets; Energy and Environment

Primary Sources

Paris Agreement

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."

See more in Global; Climate Change

Foreign Affairs Article

Beyond Break-Even Prices

Author: Michael A. Levi

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.

See more in Global; Oil; Financial Markets

Other Report

Fiscal Breakeven Oil Prices: Uses, Abuses, and Opportunities for Improvement

Authors: Blake Clayton and Michael A. Levi

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.

 

See more in Global; Oil; Economics