Which is more plausible: flying taxis, wind turbine arrays stretching miles into the ocean, and a solar roof on every house--or a scorched-earth, flooded post-Apocalyptic world?
We have no way of peeking into the future, but we can certainly imagine it. There is plenty of information about where the world is headed and regardless of how reliable this information is—or isn’t—we never stop wondering. Will the energy world of 20 years from now be better or worse than the world we live in now?
The answer may very well lie in the observable trends.
A Growing Population
The global population is growing, and it will continue to grow in the next two decades. This will drive a steady growth in energy demand, at about 1 percent per year, according to the International Energy Agency.
This modest rate of growth is good news for all who are concerned about the future of the planet. Parts of the world are trying to reduce their energy consumption, and this should have a positive effect on the carbon footprint of humanity. The energy thirst of most parts of the world will continue growing, however, hence the overall growth.
The world’s population is currently growing at a rate of a little over 1 percent annually. This rate of growth has been slowing since its peak in the 1960s and forecasts suggest that it will continue to slow. Growth in energy demand, on the other hand, may at some point stop moving in tune with population growth trends as affluence in some parts of the world grows. The richer people get, the more energy they need. So, to the big question: where will this energy come from? read more