The supply of energy is likely to become one of the biggest challenges of the 21st century. Demand for food, water and land won’t be far behind. Resources will be scarce and food prices will climb.
The World Bank estimates that higher food prices have increased the number of undernourished people by as much as 100 million since 2007.
There will be competition for land between those who wish to plant food crops for consumption and those who wish to use those crops to produce biofuels. This competition is expected to require a 10% increase in farmland worldwide by 2030.
Meeting the world’s fresh water demands will be just as challenging: by 2025 the United Nations predicts that 20% of the world’s population will not have access to adequate drinking water. Half the world’s population doesn’t have access to basic sanitation.
Freeing the world from its dependency on traditional fossil fuel energy sources and finding new ways to conserve and purify water would help counter many of these issues.
There are already some significant success stories: wind power, for instance, is growing at 30% pa globally and is likely to provide up to 15% of the US electricity needs by 2020. The role of new energy technologies (cleantech) is expected to be critical. According to the UN global projections of $630 billion investments in renewable energy by 2030 would translate into at least 20 million additional jobs.
Clean technology investment experts have been at the forefront in identifying those companies best positioned for the transition to a carbon and water constrained world. Green technology funds operating in Australia have performed exceptionally well, far exceeding the performance of the broader market.
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