Shell Czech Republic, a member of the Netherlands-Czech Chamber of Commerce (NCCC), prepared a very interesting Corporate Responsibility Club's Afternoon Tea with the topic from the energy sector. The question raised was "What might the world look like in 2100?" The event took place in Shell's premises on 3rd April and we would like to thank them for this opportunity and the thematic refreshments.
Petr Pražský, Country Chairman of Shell Czech Republic, welcomed the guests with the opening speech and Petr Šindler, External Affairs Manager of Shell Czech Republic followed with the presentation of the Shell New Lens Scenarios up to year 2100.
Energy is vital to our daily lives. We need it to produce food, fuel transport, and power communication channels. By mid-century, our planet could be home to more than 9 billion people with 75% living in cities – up from 50% today. More people will enjoy higher living standards; gaining access to hospitals, public transportation and reliable electricity. But these positive developments could place pressure on our world's resources. The world will need 30-50% more energy, water and food by 2030. Ensuring sufficient supplies of these resources, while avoiding serious climate change, are immense challenges.
Shell has been developing its energy scenarios to explore the future since the early 1970s. Over time, the Shell Scenarios have gained a global following among governments, academia and other businesses. They have helped deepen understanding of how the world might appear decades ahead. Scenarios are stories that consider "what if?" questions. Whereas forecasts focus on probabilities, scenarios consider a range of plausible futures and how these could emerge from the realities of today. They recognise that people hold beliefs and make choices that lead to outcomes. Shell Scenarios are not predictions as some people wrongly understand them but scenarios are one of the options how the world wide situation may look like in the future. Scenarios team considers changes such as in the global economic environment, geopolitics, resource stresses such as water, greenhouse gases, and energy supply and demand to help business leaders make better decisions.
What might lie ahead 50 years from now... or even in 2100? Mr. Petr Šindler during the Afternoon Tea explained that latest energy scenarios explore two possible versions of the future seen through fresh "lenses."
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 is called "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 2070s solar becomes the world's largest energy source.
Both outlooks have positive and troubling factors. To achieve a balance that is weighted more towards the positive, business, government and civil society will need to collaborate more effectively than has generally been the case. A "both/and" mentality rather than an "either/or" reaction will need to be adopted in many cases, e.g. recognizing the need for both cleaner fossil fuels and strong growth in renewable energy.
Both scenarios highlight the urgent need for business and government to find new ways to collaborate, fostering policies that promote the development and use of cleaner energy, as well as increased energy efficiency. Together we can drive breakthroughs and new technologies that will diversify the world's energy supply, increase the use of cleaner fuels and improve efficiency. Decisions taken today will have profound economic, ecological and social consequences that will shape the course of the 21st century.
"If we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change." Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa