Just 20 years into the 21st century, we have already seen remarkable changes that we could never have anticipated. We've come up with 20 predictions that explore what the next 20 years may have in store for your organization.

Our future will be decarbonized and over the next two decades, there will be a shift to renewables that will benefit society and the environment. Through significant investments in new technologies, business models for traditionally carbon intensive industries will be transformed. With participation from across the planet, we will reach net zero emissions and create a sustainable existence for all.

Mission-driven investments will drive governments to reach net zero emissions

Whereas today's global commitments aligned to the Paris Climate Agreement will only limit temperature increases to 2.9 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, over the next 20 years, governments will deploy mission-oriented approaches to achieve net-zero emissions targets.

They will do this by building on the work we're seeing today, with such agencies as ARPA-E (Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy), a U.S. government agency that funds R&D of advanced energy technologies.1 We will make investments in Cleantech, in such areas as hydrogen fuel and carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) applications that help to reduce or balance emissions in clean energy transitions.

Putting a person on the moon cost $152 billion in 2019 dollars.2 That mission-oriented effort rallied the public and private sectors, creating whole industries that thrived and lived on after the moon landing. Not only were these companies involved in the aerospace industry, but in advanced manufacturing, telecommunications, Velcro and even a keyboard manufacturer that created mechanical timers and clocks for the Apollo spacecraft. In addition, the mission rallied not only the American public, but the world in seeing such an enormous achievement. We will make similar achievements in the next two decades

While fossil fuels won't entirely disappear, the future low cost of renewables and a desire for positive ESG investments will displace their prominence, and they'll only be used in a limited number of legacy industries. Renewables will surpass the use of fossil fuels within 20 years, supported by increased investment in renewable energy technologies, a reduction in costs and changing government policies. Over the next two decades, we'll see a global transition to the use of renewable energy, and hydrogen will help decarbonize energy supply. This shift will play out across society, with energy consumption and environmental sustainability becoming key considerations for both individuals and organizations.

Electric vehicles will be the majority on our roads, with charging stations being more common than gas stations. Technology will let us fully charge an electric vehicle in less than 10 minutes.3 Individuals will have more control over their energy usage, employing digital devices to manage their consumption and collecting, storing and selling energy to others; this will incentivize smarter energy usage.

Increased connectivity, along with intelligent systems, will facilitate significantly more energy-efficient societies. Devices in smart homes and smart offices will automatically regulate their consumption based on factors such as time of day and optimize heating, cooling, lighting and other functions. Intelligent building technologies will collect and analyze data to improve energy efficiencies, ultimately helping organizations achieve sustainability objectives. Smart grids will allow individuals and organizations to participate in community solar power and battery storage, contributing to greener cities. And all businesses will have an energy strategy.

1 Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy, U.S. Department of Energy
2 Apollo 11’s 50th Anniversary: The Facts And Figures Behind The $152 Billion Moon Landing, Forbes, July 20, 2019
3 Electric car batteries with five-minute charging times produced, The Guardian, January 19, 2021

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Trends, breakthroughs, milestones, and insights on our path towards net zero emissions.

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