All it takes to change the world is a great idea. That’s why Shell Ideas360 challenges student teams to come up with smart solutions to deliver clean, sustainable food, water and energy to the world’s growing population. Over the years we have seen so many inspirational entries, from nutritional supplements made from seaweed, to solar powered cookers and an eco-distillation system to make seawater safe to drink and we are committed to continuing to nurture creative and practical ideas like these.
However, it’s not just a one-way street and we also want to help inspire solutions from within, whether it’s through funding start-ups like Bio Bean or Insolar or with our Shell Scenarios Team. This specialist team combines expertise from a wide range of areas including economics, politics, energy analysis and climate policy to explore and stress-test possible versions of the future. The aim is to drive the conversation around methods to tackle future challenges, in much the same way as students consider these issues to come up with their ideas for Shell Ideas360.
IMAGINATING A BRIGHTER FUTURE
The Shell Sky Scenario is particularly relevant as its focus is on imagining how the world must change to meet the Paris Agreement on climate change. During the Paris climate conference (COP21) in December 2015, 195 countries signed up to the first ever legally binding global climate deal. The aim of the agreement is to keep the increase in average global temperature well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.
This is an ambitious goal and one that will require a serious shift in how we produce and use energy in the future. The Shell Sky Scenario sets out a possible path we could take to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. To do this it envisages the following changes between now and 2070:
- Consumers preferentially choose low-carbon, high efficiency options to meet their energy needs.
- Improved energy efficiency leads to gains above historical trends.
- Over the 2020s governments globally adopt carbon pricing mechanisms that lead to a meaningful cost of CO2 being embedded within consumer goods and services.
- The rate of electrification of final energy more than triples and global electricity generation reaches a level that is almost five times higher than today.
- New energy sources grow up to fifty-fold, with primary energy from renewables eclipsing fossil fuels in the 2050s.
- 10,000 large carbon capture and storage facilities are built, in contrast to the 50 planned to be in operation by 2020.
- Net-zero deforestation is achieved, while an area the size of Brazil is reforested.
These are bold steps, but they need to be to have any hope of meeting the demands of the Paris Agreement.
Any student taking part in the Shell Ideas360 program can learn vital lessons from how the Shell Scenarios team came up with this potential global solution, as they used exactly the same skills teams need to come up with their own ideas. They took a real problem facing our world, used their collective expertise to research methods to tackle it and came up with radical, but practical ideas to solve it.
So, if you’re stuck for ideas remember think big, think bold and you might just come up with something that could change the world.