A Pact for the Future
The health of the planet depends on close coordination between geopolitical heavyweights like the United States, who have the diplomatic and financial wherewithal to plan and fund massive infrastructure projects, and resource-rich states like Saudi Arabia, whose carbon emissions per capita are far higher than most other nations. A recent report from the UN-sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) found that in order to keep global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels (as spelled out in the Paris Agreement), carbon emissions must peak by 2025.
In this context, a new twenty-first-century pact between Washington and Riyadh is not only attractive but also crucial and necessary. The alliance was formalized nearly one hundred years ago, but the relationship has been as slippery as the substance it was founded on. To realize their full, individual potentials and guarantee a livable planet and a safe, prosperous world order, the United States and Saudi Arabia must set aside their small-scale disagreements and build a newer, cleaner foundation with which to tackle the world’s most pressing issues. Doing so not only guarantees a more productive bilateral relationship but makes more real the possibility for the emergence of a safer, more prosperous world.
Connor Sutherland is a recent graduate of Rutgers University, New Brunswick, and works as a program coordinator at the Council on Foreign Relations. He lives in Washington, DC.