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
"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
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
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
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
- 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 (CCS).
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.