thinkbigcrop 2020

Decarbonisation trends

We anticipate that opportunities and risks will arise from a number of global megatrends, such as the electrification of transport, the decarbonisation of power and the global imperative to become more effective stewards of land, water and the environment.
Key trends
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Sulphur fuel regulations

The International Maritime Organisation established new low sulphur fuel regulations in 2020 with the aim of halving the industry’s total emissions by 2050.

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Electric vehicles

We project that one in every two vehicles could be an electric vehicle by 2050 – this will require a lot more copper and nickel.

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Oil demand drops

The first 100 million electric vehicles on the road are expected to displace close to 1.3 millions of barrels of oil demand per day by around 2030.

Electric vehicles

Electric vehicles (EVs) were impacted by the collapse in auto sales activity under the pressure of COVID–19. National and local governments in China and Europe have responded with policy support, with France and Germany stepping up their support of EV take-up and China extending NEV (new energy vehicle) subsidies to 2022.

The upcoming US presidential elections could also have long-run implications for EVs as the Democratic policy platform includes an ambitious plan for building EV charging infrastructure, which would be a critical enabler of more rapid take–up.

In the longer-term, our central case remains that by 2035, EVs will constitute around 14 per cent of the light duty vehicle fleet – or close to 30 per cent of annual sales. And by 2050, EVs are expected to consume almost 7 per cent of the world’s electricity, by which time they will constitute around half the fleet and comprise around three–quarters of annual sales.


Food security and biosphere stewardship


Food security and biosphere stewardship are expected to shape our long run operating environment.

Since 2000, crop production has risen by nearly 50 per cent, but we estimate that cultivated land has expanded by less than 3 per cent. The global population will be close to 10 billion by 2050, and diets are becoming more complex as populations urbanise and incomes rise.

The strain this places on finite land availability means global crop yields must increase significantly if we are to meet the increase in demand.

We think that potash based fertilisers will be a vital part of the solution, as they help produce more crops from less arable land.


Maritime freight


The introduction of the new IMO 2020 low sulphur fuel regulations in January 2020 signalled a new era of sustainability for the dry bulk maritime freight industry as it moves towards a target of halving its total emissions by 2050 (from 2008 baseline levels).

An intense period of fleet replacement is scheduled to occur in the mid-to-late 2020s, which offers a unique opportunity to dramatically alter the technological and environmental profile of the dry bulk fleet.

Introducing LNG fuelled vessels into our own iron ore value chain will help to reduce emissions by roughly one-third on a per voyage basis compared to conventional fuel, reducing CO2 and NOx (nitrogen oxide) emissions and eliminating SOx (sulphur oxide) emissions. If the industry gets this right, the steep task of halving shipping emissions by 2050 may not seem as far off as it does today.