Sustainability session comment piece: Contributing to a Sustainable Energy Future by Allard Castelein

Contributing to a Sustainable Energy Future

Allard CasteleinThe world is expected to be home to more than 9 billion people by 2050. Many millions of people will rise out of energy poverty. With higher living standards comes rising energy use. Energy demand could double by the middle of the century, yet CO2 emissions will need to be halved to avoid serious climate change.

Supplying this vital extra energy will become increasingly difficult. Conventional energy sources will struggle to keep pace, even with technological advances. With strong government support, renewables could meet up to 30% of the world’s energy demand by 2050, compared to 13% today, but getting to that level would require historically unprecedented growth rates for new forms of energy. Shell analysis shows that fossil fuels and nuclear could meet at least 70% of global energy demand in 2050.

With growing energy demand, the stresses between the essentials of life – water, food, and energy – will become more critical. Water is needed to extract energy and generate power; energy is needed to treat and transport water; and both water and energy are needed to grow food. Climate change is will intensify the stresses.  Shell is investing considerable time understanding the connections and working with others to help address their complex relationship, known as the energy-water-food nexus.

At Shell, our aim is to help meet future energy needs responsibly by delivering more energy, cleaner energy and efficient energy. We contribute to sustainable development by both sharing the benefits of energy production and reducing our impacts. This covers what we produce and how we produce it. Natural gas is the cleanest fossil fuel. At Shell we believe that it is an important component of a sustainable global energy mix and we supply natural gas to more countries than any other energy company. We are helping to develop carbon capture and storage, which could be significant in reducing global greenhouse gases. We are already one of the largest suppliers of biofuels. We have moved into the production of biofuel from Brazilian sugar cane. This produces about 70% less CO2 than standard petrol. We are also working to improve the energy efficiency of our own operations.

by Allard Castelein- GGCS sustainability session speaker and panellist

Vice President Environment, Royal Dutch Shell plc

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