New Shell Scenarios Sharpen Focus on Future for Society, Energy
THE HAGUE, The Netherlands, February 28, 2013
THE HAGUE, The Netherlands, February 28, 2013 /PRNewswire/ --
Shell today released new scenarios that explore two possible ways the 21 ^st
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
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 Peter Voser.
"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.
The scenarios highlight areas of public policy likely to have the greatest
influence on the development of cleaner fuels and renewables, improvements in
energy efficiency and on moderating greenhouse gas emissions. They include:
*Measures to promote the development of compact, energy-efficient cities,
particularly in Asia and other rapidly urbanising parts of the world.
*Mandates for greater efficiency in areas such as transportation and
*Policies to encourage the safe development of the world's abundant supply
of cleaner-burning natural gas -- and to promote its wider use in power
generation, transport and other areas.
*A price on CO2 emissions and other incentives to speed the adoption of
technologies to manage emissions, particularly carbon capture and storage
The Mountains scenario imagines a world of more moderate economic development
in which policy plays an important role in shaping the world's energy system
and environmental pathway. Cleaner-burning natural gas becomes the backbone of
the world's energy system, in many places replacing coal as a fuel for power
generation and seeing wider use in transport.
A profound shift in the transportation sector sees global demand for oil
peaking in about 2035. By the end of the century, cars and trucks powered by
electricity and hydrogen could dominate the road. Technology to capture carbon
dioxide emissions from power stations, refineries and other industrial
installations becomes widely used, helping to reduce CO2 emissions from the
power sector to zero by 2060. Another factor is the growth of nuclear power in
global electricity generation. Its market share increases by around 25% in the
period to 2060.
With these changes to the energy system, greenhouse gas emissions begin to
fall after 2030. Nevertheless, emissions remain on a trajectory to overshoot
the target of limiting global temperatures rise to 2 degrees Celsius.
The Oceans scenario envisions a more prosperous, volatile world with an energy
landscape shaped mostly by market forces and civil society, with government
policy playing a less prominent role. Public resistance and the slow adoption
of both policies and technology limit the development of nuclear power and
restrict the growth of natural gas outside North America. Coal remains widely
used in power generation until at least the middle of the century.
Without strong support from policymakers, carbon capture and storage catches
on slowly. By mid-century CCS captures only about 10% of emissions, growing to
about 25% in 2075. This slow uptake is the main reason electricity generation
becomes carbon-neutral some 30 years later in the Oceans scenario than in the
Higher energy prices encourage the development of hard-to-reach oil resources,
as well as the expansion of biofuel production. Oil demand continues to grow
through the 20s and 30s, reaching a plateau after 2040. Liquid fuels still
account for about 70% of road passenger travel by mid-century.
High prices also spur strong efficiency gains and the development of solar
power. By 2070, solar photovoltaic panels become the world's largest primary
source of energy. Wind energy expands at a slower pace, due to public
opposition to large installations of wind turbines. Elevated demand for coal
and oil, a lack of support for CCS and less natural gas development outside of
North America contributes to about 25% higher total greenhouse gas emissions
than in the Mountains scenario.
To explore Mountains and Oceans in more detail, download Shell's New Lens
Scenarios at http://www.shell.com/scenarios .
Shell has a 40-year history of using scenario planning to explore possible
future landscapes and aid strategic decision-making. The latest publication
continues a tradition of sharing summaries of the scenarios to contribute to
the public debate about possible ways to tackle some of society's long-term
Notes to Editors
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