Today’s main feature is about the scenarios Shell recently published. In the near future EER will pay attention to the scenarios of other major energy companies. It will be interesting to see both the differences and the similarities. Especially informative will be to determine what causes the differences. The why is less important. Let me explain.
Firstly we have to accept that correlations are not causalities. It is tempting to gather a number of facts and developments, look for interactions and conclude that this complex will lead to a certain outcome. Energy is vital for our way of living and in the present even more than ever before. We all agree. But the world of energy itself is influenced by so many factors, that even afterwards it is impossible to decide the main cause for the ultimate result. As, by the way, is the case in all complex situations: contingency rules. The complexity in Shell’s approach is represented by the paradoxes that make it clear how many divergent factors bear this contingency.
Secondly people in general see targets as something in the future. But the fact is that we set our targets in the present, based upon our actual consideration of what is feasible and the weighing of what might happen taken into account what we know and ‘decide’ to expect. Results are the future. That is the reason for staying flexible. During the journey companies evaluate and refresh their targets and strategies. There is no alternative: one can not reset results.
Thirdly there is a strong evolutionary aspect involved. Regarding living creatures we use the word survival for our main target. Continuity is the key word business company’s use, but in reality they mean the same. Nowadays we link the energy future to the future of mankind and the earth as our only biotope. As long as people exist they are trained to cope with sudden dangers and to react immediately. Animals do the same. They do not plan ahead. There is no herd that decides to leave the territory because they know that predators are living there also. They survive day by day. People are aware of time and hence future and try to anticipate. But if we expect fossil fuels to run short and then hear that there are enough reserves for another 100 years and more it is beyond our reaction instinct. If we expect that climate change will put mankind and our habitat into a lot of trouble, we become worried, but our willingness to come into action will be stretched over time.
Why is why less important in this case? That is because we already know the why: survival, continuity, they are the goals in the past and in the future. How, through which action we will reach our desired result is decisive. At least that is what we believe in. To this respect we are trying to be our own cause.