Main content | back to top
A new lens for peering into the future
Peering into the future is tricky. But new scenarios developed by Shell explore two possible ways the 21st century could unfold, with dramatically different implications for society and the world’s energy system. They explore economic, political and energy trends to 2100, underscoring the role of government policy in shaping the future.
Called Mountains and Oceans, Shell’s New Lens Scenarios analyse current trends and trace two plausible routes to the future, exploring the implications for global economic development, the energy system and greenhouse gas emissions.
They also raise surprising questions. For instance, could photovoltaic solar power could become the world’s largest energy source by 2070s? Might global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions be near zero by 2100, thanks partly to technology that removes CO2 from the atmosphere?
The Mountains scenario imagines a world where government policy significantly influences society and largely shapes energy and environmental pathways. Cleaner-burning natural gas becomes the backbone of the world’s energy system, mostly replacing coal for power generation and seeing wider use in transport.
Oceans envisions a landscape shaped by market forces and civil society. Public resistance and the slow adoption of both policies and technology limit the development of nuclear power and restrict the growth of natural gas. Coal remains widely used in power generation until mid-century.