A Conversation with Shell
Through the TED Conversations platform, Shell is partnering with TED to engage the community in meaningful discussion on key global issues.
Global Strategy Team, Shell
A conversation with Shell: How can we create a future where every city has reliable energy, clean water and enough to eat?
In 2050, an estimated 6.6 billion people will live in cities. Up to half could live in slums. What solutions would create a future where all city dwellers have reliable access to energy, clean drinking water and sanitation, and a secure food supply?
Shell has used scenario planning for 40 years to gain a deeper understanding of the world's energy supply, use and needs. In 2008, we published Scenarios to 2050 -- proposing alternative paths for the energy future in the coming decades. Our latest update, Signals and Signposts, takes into account the impact of the global economic and financial crises. It also looks at some of the looming stresses of our planet, such as freshwater shortages and rapid urbanization We're using these reports to inform our conversation.
Our global population is rapidly urbanizing. By 2050, 75 percent of the world’s population could live in cities -- up from 50 percent today. Scientists predict that managing energy use in cities will be a critical factor in affecting climate change.
Essential services are increasingly addressed at the city level, rather than at a national or regional level. Smarter development could mean compact cities with high population density, mass-transit infrastructure and energy-efficient combined heat and power (CHP) developments. Integrating transportation, energy, water and waste systems will be crucial.
This drives us to ask: How can early intervention and investment in cities lead to more sustainable long-term outcomes? How can better urban infrastructure be achieved? What governance mechanisms might support effective city development?