Shell seers who failed to predict the reserves scandal and Shell’s Arctic meltdown, now offer their latest peek into the future. Past performance does not inspire confidence in their prophecies… The famed corporate crystal ball never revealed a world in which its so-called No.1 Enemy would be operating globally under the Royal Dutch Shell Plc top level domain name, dealing on Shell’s behalf with job applications, business proposals, complaints, invitations to speak at conferences, and even terrorist threats. This was a scenario apparently deemed too far beyond the realms of possibility to be contemplated, but it is nonetheless the incredible reality and has been for getting on to a decade. How on earth did such a supposedly far-sighted management end up in such a humiliating situation?
With the world’s population headed toward 9 billion at mid-century and millions of people climbing out of poverty, global energy demand could increase by as much as 80% by 2050. That’s according to Shell’s latest , which look at trends in the economy, politics and energy in considering developments over the next half a century.
The scenarios provide a detailed analysis of current trends and their likely trajectory into the future. They dive into the implications for the pace of global economic development, the types of energy we use to power our lives and the growth in greenhouse gas emissions.
The scenarios also highlight areas of public policy likely to have the greatest influence on the development of cleaner fuels, improvements in energy efficiency and on moderating greenhouse gas emissions.
The first scenario, labelled “mountains”, sees a strong role for government and the introduction of firm and far-reaching policy measures. These help to develop more compact cities and transform the global transport network. New policies unlock plentiful natural gas resources – making it the largest global energy source by the 2030s – and accelerate carbon capture and storage technology, supporting a cleaner energy system.
The second scenario, which we call “oceans”, describes a more prosperous and volatile world. Energy demand surges, due to strong economic growth. Power is more widely distributed and governments take longer to agree major decisions. Market forces rather than policies shape the energy system: oil and coal remain part of the energy mix but renewable energy also grows. By the 2060s solar becomes the world’s largest energy source.