What might lie ahead 50 years from now… or even in 2100? We consider two possible scenarios of the future, taking a number of pressing global trends and issues and using them as “lenses” through which to view the world.

Called Mountains and Oceans, the scenarios provide a detailed analysis of current trends and their likely trajectory into the future. They dive 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 two scenarios also highlight areas of public policy likely to have the greatest influence on the development of cleaner fuels, improvements in energy efficiency and on moderating greenhouse gas emissions.

They also raise surprising questions. For instance, could photovoltaic solar power become the world’s largest energy source by the 2070s? Might global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions be near zero by 2100, thanks partly to technology that removes COfrom the atmosphere?

New Lens Scenarios supplements

Pathways to Net-Zero Emissions

Singapore city at dusk squares

A Better Life with a Healthy Planet: Pathways to Net-Zero Emissions

Our newest supplement to the New Lens Scenarios builds on the New Lens Scenarios. It illustrates choices, challenges and ideas to decarbonise the global economy, in a way that might address climate change, the desire for broader economic growth, and human wellbeing.

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New Lenses on Future Cities

Six city archetypes

The first supplement to the New Lens Scenarios, called New Lenses on Future Cities, examines how cities will evolve this century, and the challenges they will face to be liveable, sustainable and competitive.

By 2050, almost three-quarters of the world’s population will live in cities. This is similar to adding a new city the size of Singapore every month. Such rapid growth presents economic opportunities, but it will also place enormous strain on essential systems and resources. How cities develop in coming decades directly impact the quality of life for billions of future urban citizens.

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Earlier scenarios

Shell Scenarios since the 1970s have helped us understand how the world and its energy system could evolve in decades to come.

Explore earlier Shell Scenarios

More in Shell Scenarios

New Lenses on Future Cities

We analysed six city archetypes to better understand the changing world and created scenarios for how individual cities might evolve and become more efficient.