Future Green: Prognostications For 2008 & Beyond

Perhaps you've seen our team post about what's coming: "2008: A Year Of Change For The Environment And Us" We're talking "Year of The Tree" of course. Also, Collin previously offered "2008 Consumer Trends: Green is the New Everything" to tempt us trend watchers.

Speaking of trends:- A Shell Oil executive from the UK has offered two fascinating 20+ year scenario views of climate and energy issues. One of them, called "Scramble," is the the gloomier of the two - but keep reading, please, until you get through to the happier scenario called Blueprints - and it certainly seems as if the last several years have us on a Scramble trajectory.


First, the general background as Mr Smith sees it. In the period to 2050, global energy demand is going to double under the pressures of population growth and economic development. Even if there is a fantastic increase in renewable energy it won't be anywhere enough to keep up with demand. As a result, fossil fuels – coal especially – will still constitute 60 per cent of the energy mix.
Scramble is a scenario where self-interest predominates initially. Voters in the West and in the developing world are unwilling to make radical changes in lifestyle. Politicians concentrate on trying to optimize within their own national perspectives. As a result there is global competition for resources and little attention paid to cutting energy consumption. Naturally, this will lead to new international political tensions and greenhouse gas emissions continue to climb.

Note, however, that this is not a doomsday scenario. Eventually, faced with the negative consequences of climate change, self-interest will force the leading economies to co-operate to curb emissions and draw back from energy nationalism. At which point, 20 years from now, the world will find itself desperately trying to put right what it could have avoided with a little forethought.

From our point of view, Scramble and Blueprint are equally plausible. Unfortunately, the notion of energy nationalism expressed in Scramble seems characteristic of the first month of 2008. If that whole Iraq as 51'st US State doesn't work out by year's end, then the US might look more seriously at the alternative of annexing Alberta Canada. Take that back: Alberta, holding the fossil cards, can probably annex at least the entire Louisiana Purchase- and the Great Lakes-States. (They're already Texifying the upper Midwest to make it more Alberta-ready.)

The more optimistic future space, the one we TreeHuggers want to help the world move toward, is called "Blueprints:"

Governments accept that climate change and skyrocketing global energy demand require a co-ordinated solution on the Kyoto model. This starts slowly – think the recent Bali accords – but gathers momentum in time to avoid the worst prospects for global warming and energy wars. New energy technology also plays a big role.

James Smith puts some skin on the bare bones of the 'Blueprints' agenda. He suggests that grand international agreements on emissions targets may be a while in coming, but that bilateral deals and coalitions could be the immediate way forward. Leaving aside process, he identifies several key "mega deals" that have to be done to tackle climate change.

Now to something a little more immediate. Long time TreeHugger-pal Jacquelyn Ottman offers four straight up, highly plausible predictions for 2008. We suggest the whole article, but here are the headers.

#1. Discredited Green Claims Lose Traction
Expect some now-meaningless marketing terms to fall by the wayside....

#2. Electronics Suppliers Tout Eco-Performance
Expect electronics firms to start marketing their green bonafides, earned by creating programs...

#3. Companies Make More Green Products...
Many more green products will hit the shelves in 2008 as industry takes additional, more confident steps...

#4. ...and Companies Sell More Green Products
Green products sales will soar, boosted by the marketing heft of major consumer...

Via::The Scotsman, Business Section, "Shell deserves credit for wanting to be part of the climate change solution" AND Sustainable Life Media, "Four Green-Marketing Predictions for 2008" Image credit::Matt's Notepad, Dr. Who's Tardis Control Table (for time travel) Wallpaper

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