Peter Schwartz is one of the most influential progenitors of scenario planning, dating back from his work at Royal Dutch/Shell in which he helped the company foresee the rise and fall of oil prices in the 1970’s and 1980’s. He subsequently wrote a widely-read book about envisioning the future called The Art of the Long View, and founded the firm Global Business Network (which is now allied with Monitor). To this day, Schwartz remains a widely respected futurist, and retains a strong interest in the future of the energy industry.
Schwartz and his GBN colleague Steve Weber recently held a webcast on “The Future of Energy: A Flawed Consensus”, in which they posit that “the conventional wisdom is wrong” about where the energy industry is headed.
In particular, they speculate that there is overoptimism about the economics and pace of adoption for alternatives to coal and oil (e.g., renewables), and yet at the same time, climate change is more of a problem than is widely realized. I hope that Schwartz and Weber are themselves wildly wrong, but I’m quite worried that they’re mainly right. If so, we’re in for an ugly ride.