Two recent Government reports have highlighted issues which should be of concern to us all. The first one deals with the impending fuel crisis which will shortly be upon us as we reach the era of “peak oil”. It introduces the concept of TEQs (Transferable Energy Quotas). If TEQs come into being we will all be given an annual quota which will be transferable in the same way as carbon credits and it will bring home to us all the cost of carbon consumption.
In the meantime, the political uncertainties in the Middle East are likely to keep oil and gas at historically high levels. Western Societies have enjoyed an astonishing increase in their living standards since the Second World War, brought to us substantially by cheap energy and increased innovation. The age of cheap fossil fuel energy may be about to come to an end and this will lead to testing times for us all if we wish to maintain the material comforts which we all take for granted.
The other report highlights the increasing problem of worldwide food shortages as evidenced by significantly increased shop prices over the past few months and a spike in commodity prices. With the increasing affluence of the BRIC economies it is inevitable that this trend will continue. China and various middle eastern states are “quietly colonising” vast areas of agricultural ground and oil and gas mineral interests in Africa. This is now leading to increased competition for natural resources which will continue to drive up prices in the shops.
With these challenges come vast new areas of business opportunity from hydroponics to energy efficiency. The world is about to embark on its fastest ever period of economic growth as we scramble to meet these challenges. The challenge for western societies is to ensure that we do not get left standing in this great global race. The business of innovation has never been more urgent or important and our policy makers would do well to reflect on the message contained in the You Tube clip below.
Sandy Finlayson Senior Partner