Dramatic possibilities

Shell New Lens Scenario’s (2013, page 74): Urbanisation In the 2020s, a series of unusually violent storms leads to sea level surges in Asia, wreaking massive flood damage on major coastal cities. Governments respond by hurriedly building dykes, new storm deflection barriers, and new energy infrastructure, especially wind and solar parks. But a decade later, another series of unusual floods destroy these deflection barriers and infrastructure. The rich have provided generators and other energy survival mechanisms for themselves, but the poor demand that the government finds a culprit to pay for this round of repairs. In addition, rich and poor alike insist that something be done about the ‘root cause’ – namely, to reduce CO2 emissions dramatically within a generation. In response to this social consensus, fossil fuels are taxed heavily upstream to pay for infrastructure adaptations required by the new climate realities. Eventually, these costs are passed on to the end consumers, but in the beginning they catch the fossil industry completely off-guard. In this new world, gas is preferred above coal, and biofuels are mandated into the fuel mix at a dizzyingly accelerated pace. By the late 2030s, the deployment of CCS is accelerating as well. Regulation for ‘appropriate’ energy end-use emerges. This includes mandates for building in resilience such as zero-emission housing, integrated solar PV, or wind power and mini-combined heat and power (CHP). Transport demand is reduced by redesigning cities into more compact forms with logistics hubs, giving preference to low-carbon solutions (electrified public transport). These limit the opportunity for car use.