Basic commodities as scarce resources

Managing resources

One of the key drivers of the Wellington 2040 project has been to consider trends that are likely to play out in the future. The aim has not been to predict the future but instead consider where the combination of trends is likely to create tensions or changes that could plausibly impact on the city.

The research identified six mega trends including:

Basic commodities as scarce resources: as populations grow, demand for basic resources – food, water and energy – will put pressures on cities.

Key themes:

  • Search for solutions to the global supply of food, water and energy will intensify.
  • Rising tensions over control of resources.
  • Consumer demand for renewable and non-fossil fuel energy (wind, solar, tidal, wave, biofuel).
  • Wellington and New Zealand have some natural advantages (ie water and established renewable energy sources).

Underlying drivers:

  • Growing world population, coupled with growing middle class and consumer appetites, eg China & India.
  • Water scarcity and climate change limiting the ability to grow food in parts of the world.
  • China will continue its significant intake of basic resources as part of its drive for economic development.
  • Total global oil production on the decline.

Some emerging futures: