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For almost half a century, Shell scenarios have helped us to gain a deeper understanding of global developments and the world’s energy supply, use and needs. They help us to make crucial choices in uncertain times as we grapple with tough energy and environmental issues.

Three years ago, we made public our Shell Energy Scenarios to 2050. These scenarios addressed the challenges facing the world and influenced our own strategic direction.

To ensure we continue playing a constructive and responsible role in the global energy and environmental debate, we must listen to others. We must also continue to share our best understanding of what we believe the future holds.

Our energy scenarios - Scramble and Blueprints - remain a credible vision of what may lie ahead. This new booklet - Signals & Signposts - updates our thinking by taking into account the impact of the global economic and financial crisis. Over the next four decades, the world’s energy system will see profound developments.

Heightened collaboration between civil society and the public and private sectors is vital if we want to address economic, energy and environmental challenges.

Partnerships must be grounded in commercial reality, but energy and environmental developments have to accelerate in the right direction. We must widen and deepen the debate across industry and geographical boundaries.

With policy drift and increasing challenges to market-based solutions, we must focus on policies that deliver affordable solutions now and technological advances for the future.

Some preferred energy solutions will only be affordable and available at scale tomorrow. Others are available now and will remain attractive. For example, I firmly believe that natural gas must make a growing contribution.

The global supply picture for this low-carbon fuel has improved considerably over the past few years.

I trust you will find Signals & Signposts stimulating, thought-provoking and useful. I hope it will help you seek collaborative opportunities. I hope it will also help you embrace, rather than shy away from, the challenges which lie ahead.