ENERGY TO 2050 Scenarios for a Sustainable Future
Analysing the intersection between energy and climate change mitigation
issues requires the adoption of a very long-term perspective. Energy
infrastructure takes a very long time to build and has a useful life often
measured in decades. New energy technologies take time to develop and
even longer to reach their maximum market share. Similarly, the impact of
increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases from human activities
develops over a very long period (from decades to centuries), while policy
responses to climate change threats may only yield effects after
considerable delay. Analysis that seeks to tackle these issues must take a
similarly long term view – looking ahead at least thirty to fifty years.
Unfortunately, analysis of such time frames is an uncertain science. The
future is by definition unknown and cannot be predicted. While over time
horizons of ten years the inertia of the energy/economy system is so
strong as to leave little room for change, over longer periods, the future will
almost certainly look different than the present.