May 31, 2011 Leave a comment
Yesterday I went to a CEDA Luncheon: “World Energy Outlook” with Jeremy Bentham, Vice President Global Business Environment of Shell. Basically, he is the guy who forecasts strategic energy trends for Shell to help it to help future-proof its business.
It was an interesting talk. In short he said: that the decisions governments across the world make on energy policy over the next five years will define the way the world looks in 2050 and that this would define whether the next 50 years where a time of “extraordinary opportunity or misery”.
This is partly because most major energy projects, including oil, gas and renewables, have expected project lives of 20-30 years, current decision-making would set world energy supplies as far out as 2050.
Key to this is cities where $300 trillion will be invested in cities over coming decades as 75% of the population moves into them by 2050.
The equivalent of one new Perth is busily been built every week!
This investment in energy and cities will define whether we are able to move towards more sustainable planet or not
Jeremy Bentham wasn’t too concerned about peak oil as he thought that alternative energy such as gas, coal seam methane and oil sands would fill the gap that would be left by the likely decline in conventional oil supplies
He was however deeply concerned about climate change and said that Shell accepted the scientific consensus that anthropogenic carbon emissions led to global warming and that Shell already factored a carbon price into its project planning.
The most depressing part of his talk was that the best case scenario for CO2 was 650ppm by 2100 which means that we have a 95% chance of temperature rises above 2 degrees which scientists have called a “guardrail” for dangerous climate change.
This is backed up by figures out this morning which, according to the latest estimates, human activity last year sent 30.6 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide into the world’s atmosphere — 5 per cent more than in 2009 — with most coming from burning fossil fuels.
The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says emissions on this path would give a 50-50 chance of a 4-degree increase in average temperatures by 2100.
“The panel projected that 4 degrees warming could lead to the extinction of more than 40 per cent of the world’s species, coastal flooding hitting millions of people each year and increased morbidity placing a large burden on health services”
The energy/climate change challenge really is a huge one but it seems that our political and business leaders understand the problem but are not able or willing to map out a sustainable path to address the issue.
The City of Fremantle is putting together its draft Low Carbon City Plan and Peak Oil Strategy as we speak. I think it shows how Fremantle can play its part and more and we’d love your feedback on these when they come out.