Chief Executive Officer, Royal Dutch Shell
Excerpt from remarks to Boston College’s Chief Executives’ Club of Boston
March 21, 2013
TAKEAWAY: The demand for energy
The fact is that our global energy system is so big, our energy consumption is on a scale so massive, and demand is growing so quickly, that we will need to aggressively pursue all sources of energy for decades to come just to keep up.
When your President Obama says America’s energy policy should be all of the above, he is absolutely right, in our opinion. Here are a few numbers and facts to keep in mind. Every day, our global population increases by more than 220,000 people. That is the equivalent of adding a city of one and a half million people—more than the population of Boston proper—every week.
Here in the developed world, we do not readily see the impact of that. But the rapid growth which we have elsewhere, like in China, India, Brazil, and other developing nations, is huge. As the population rises in these countries, there are also millions more people each year moving up from poverty into joining the middle class.
This increasing prosperity has been a fantastic human achievement resulting from the globalization of our economy. But it also raises some global issues that promise to become more challenging for all of us to address in the years ahead. Most of these people are flocking to rapidly growing cities, where they are using more energy as they use their first appliances and drive their first cars. As a result, in the next seven years alone, the world’s additional energy demand could be equal in size to China’s entire energy system today. So only seven years to build that.