By Peter Michaelis, Head of the Liontrust Sustainable Investment team at Liontrust
Over the last 20 years, we have experienced a huge transformation across so many facets of life, and Covid-19 has shown this change will likely accelerate as we move past the pandemic. This article outlines some of the changes we can expect over the next 20 years.
Increasing urbanisation looks set to continue, with more than two-thirds of the global population likely to be city dwellers by the early 2040s. Current cities emit 50% to 60% of greenhouse gases and will therefore have to invest in retrofitting to mitigate environmental impacts.
Healthcare is a huge part of a more sustainable future, as people need to be around to enjoy a better world. Looking beyond the pandemic, our view is that we will see significant advances across areas such as gene editing and DNA sequencing, and these are revolutionising how we think about treatment.
By 2041, our hope is that the electricity we consume will primarily come from renewable sources and be delivered through a hugely upgraded and more intelligent grid that includes demand-side management. Many things that currently consume fossil fuels will have switched, such as electric vehicles and heat pumps to heat and cool buildings.
Electric cars should be 2041’s dominant form of passenger vehicles, and the combustion engine is likely to be an antique as quiet, clean cities become the norm. Cars will be charged from solar panels connected to houses and battery technology so developed that refuelling is a thing of the past. We anticipate autonomous vehicles as the norm for deliveries of food and parcels; while driving your own car is unlikely to be fully autonomous, safety systems should take control of braking and moving lanes/turning.
The digital economy is increasingly central to a properly functioning global economy and this will continue. We predict ongoing shifts in the future of networking, systems, applications and services. While the internet will continue to play a vital role in how we communicate, artificial intelligence could personalise our experiences within platforms and quantum technologies and computing make networks faster and more available.
Looking to the next 20 years, we see a pressing need to be just as challenging and radical in our thinking as we were in 2001 and expect this to involve investing in many of the innovations highlighted in this article to make the world of 2041 cleaner, healthier and safer, as well as fairer.
For more information on sustainable investing and the Liontrust Sustainable Investment team, visit the Liontrust website.
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