Megatrends

Energy Change

Coal train in the forest Coal train in the forest | © istockphoto.com/04-05-08 @ traveller 1116

Major megatrends shaping today's world include demographic change, urbanization, globalization and energy change. These megatrends are interdependent and likely to only reveal their ultimate effects over a period of decades.

The conservation, management and efficient use of energy resources is possibly the single biggest megatrend of our time. Forecasts expect energy consumption to increase by over 70 percent up to 2020. Yet fast-depleting fossil fuel resources, rising energy demand and concerns about the environment all insist on alternative and timely energy solutions being found to meet the world’s changing energy requirements.

The pressing challenge of sustainable energy provision is one born of a range of long-term global megatrends and harsh energy truths. Transforming this energy vision into a renewable energy age reality is one of the greatest challenges of the 21st century, with global demand for energy expected to lead to a dramatic increase in energy prices in the medium to long term. As a result, dependence on energy imports will also increase significantly. This in turn will lead to increased greenhouse gas emissions - the current energy mix accounting for approximately 80 percent of all emissions at present.

Renewable energy sources provide a number of answers to the difficult energy questions being asked as the world strives to create a sustainable, secure and environmentally friendly energy supply for the future.

Smart solutions developed in Germany are providing innovative answers to the challenges created by an energy landscape in transformation.

Demographic Change

People People | © istockphoto.com/08-10-10 @ Andreas Kermann

Major megatrends shaping today's world include demographic change, urbanization, globalization and energy change. These megatrends are interdependent and likely to only reveal their ultimate effects over a period of decades.

Major global demographic change continues apace as we enter the second decade of the 21st century. The current world population of seven billion is expected to reach 9 billion by 2050. The global population is expanding, but at a slower rate than before, with western industrial nations experiencing shrinking populations while growth in the developing world continues apace.

We are also getting older as populations in both the developed and developing worlds live longer, healthier lives. Transglobal migration is also taking hold as global demographic change places new challenges on existing energy, education, health, and transportation infrastructure resources. New and better integrated infrastructure management systems are also required to meet the changing requirements of a world in radical transformation.

Smart solutions developed in Germany are providing innovative answers to the challenges created by global demographic change.

Urbanization

Man in a skyscraper with view of the skyline Man in a skyscraper with view of the skyline | © istockphoto.com/nikada

Major megatrends shaping today's world include demographic change, urbanization, globalization and energy change. These megatrends are interdependent and likely to only reveal their ultimate effects over a period of decades.

For the first time in history more of us live in cities than do in rural areas. According to the United Nations, the global population will exceed 9 billion by 2050; with more than 6 billion - or almost 70 percent of the world population - living in cities and urban conurbations.

More and more so-called "megacities" (typically defined as a metropolitan area with a total population of more than 10 million people) are springing up across the world. Where there were less than a handful of megacities in the mid-1970s (New York, Mexico City and Tokyo), today there are more than 20 ten-million plus megacities.

Cities are not only more productive than rural communities; they are also the recognized growth motors of the global economy. Urban centers occupy less than two percent of the planet’s surface, but provide homes to half of the world population and generate 70 percent of global GDP. Almost 50 percent of global GDP is generated by just 150 metropolitan regions.

ICT advances are allowing cities to press home their productivity advantage even more. But cities also account for around 75 percent of global energy demand – and more than 80 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. Urbanization also brings with it real challenges for water and energy supply, mobility and traffic infrastructure, education, health and personal safety.

Radical patterns of economic migration, increased population density and even the growth of so-called “edge cities” (major outer-city center agglomerations which share the same characteristics of the megacities they are springing up around) as a wider effect of urbanization paradoxically provide a rich opportunity to turn the pressing energy and climate change tides.

Smart solutions developed in Germany are providing innovative answers to the challenges created by urbanization.

Globalization

Network connections shown with pins and yarn on a world map Network connections shown with pins and yarn on a world map | © istockphoto/michael1959

Major megatrends shaping today's world include demographic change, urbanization, globalization and energy change. These megatrends are interdependent and likely to only reveal their ultimate effects over a period of decades.

Globalization is perhaps best understood as being the intensification of worldwide relations - cultural, economic, industrial, political and social - to create a world in which historical boundaries are transcended as part of a unified global marketplace.

Technological advances made in the last 30 years have allowed goods, services and capital to be more easily moved across international borders.

Information and knowledge have become the currency of the globalized age as the expansion in world trade and investment has brought major benefits to countries in both the developed and developing worlds.

Globalization has also brought with it new challenges and risks as the international financial crisis of 2008 and beyond has shown. Properly harnessed, globalization provides greater global opportunity in terms of more efficient and competitive markets, increased access to goods and services, affordable imports and improved exports.

The globalization of the world's financial markets has allowed emerging markets and developing countries to record the most rapid capital flow increases while becoming more financially integrated.

But globalization is about much more than international economic integration. It is also about the transglobal migration of ideas and people. Globalization impacts upon us all on a daily basis in terms of the economic, personal and political choices we make.

This too brings not only opportunities but also hugely complex challenges. Economic growth, financial stability and education and living standard advances made to date must be safeguarded while ensuring that regional disparities are redressed.

Smart solutions developed in Germany are providing innovative answers to the challenges created by globalization.

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