Energy is vital to our daily lives. We need it to produce food, fuel transport, and power communication channels. By mid-century, our planet could be home to more than 9 billion people - up from 7 billion today - with three out of four of us living in cities [source: UN Habitat organisation]. Demand for energy could be 75% higher in 50 years from now.
At the same time, the world’s remaining supplies of oil and natural gas are increasingly difficult to find, unlock and produce. Factors include remote environments, complex geologies or even deeper water.
If we are going to meet rising demand, we will need energy from all sources. Undoubtedly some of that energy will come from renewable sources such as the wind and the sun. With a truly exceptional effort, we believe as much as 25% of the world’s energy could come from renewables by 2050 [source: Shell's Scenarios team]. But non-renewable forms of energy will have to make up the rest.
More energy, more innovation, less CO2
Running concurrently with the need to produce more energy is the equally pressing need to cut carbon dioxide emissions. The world will need to halve carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 2050 to avoid the worst effects of climate change [source: IPCC report, April 2014]. So not only will the world require more energy but also cleaner, low-carbon energy.
To meet the rising energy demand in the most socially, environmentally, and economically responsible way, we need to leverage the full power of innovation: the capacity for doing things differently and better than before.
Shell thrives on such challenges – we have been a technology pioneer for more than a century and we continue to find innovative ways to provide the energy people need. In 2013, we spent $1.3 billion on research and development, more than any other international oil and gas company.
Working with others
But we also know the scale of the energy challenge facing the world means that it cannot be solved by any one company. That is why, across the world, we work in collaboration with governments, other companies and a range of non-governmental organisations. Working together in this way helps to speed up the development of new, lower-carbon energy and helps to improve our understanding of the wider context in which we work.