THE HAGUE, The Netherlands
February 28, 2013
Shell today released new scenarios that explore two possible ways the 21
century could unfold, with dramatically different implications for society and the world's energy system. One scenario sees cleaner-burning natural gas becoming the most important energy source globally by the 2030s and early action to limit carbon dioxide emissions. The other sees solar becoming the top source by about 2070, but with slower action to address the threat of climate change.
The New Lens Scenarios, which look at trends in the economy, politics and energy as far ahead as 2100, underscore the critical role that government policies could play in shaping the future.
"These scenarios show how the choices made by governments, businesses and individuals in the next few years will have a major impact on the way the future unfolds," said Chief Executive Officer
"They highlight the need for business and government to find new ways to collaborate, fostering policies that promote the development and use of cleaner energy, and improve energy efficiency."
With the world's population headed toward 9.5 billion by 2060 and the rapid growth of emerging economies lifting millions of people out of poverty for the first time, the scenarios project that world energy demand could double over the next 50 years.
Called Mountains and Oceans, Shell's scenarios explore two plausible future pathways for society. Each scenario dives 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 look further into the future than many other outlooks and highlight some surprising possible developments. Both see global emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) dropping to near zero by 2100. One factor is increasing use of technology that takes CO2 out of the atmosphere, for instance by burning biomass to produce electricity, and then storing emissions underground. Although the Oceans scenario sees a dramatic increase in solar power, it also envisions greater fossil fuel use and higher total CO2 emissions over the century than the Mountains scenario, which will likely have more impact on the world's climate.