POST - Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology

Towards 2020 and Beyond

Published Friday, June 19, 2015

This note focuses on policy drivers leading towards 2020 and beyond. It looks at the relationship between UK policy and the following drivers: people (demographics), technological change, climate change, resource security and sustainability, inequality, and governance issues.

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The objective of this note is to set out a number of overarching trends in a globalised and rapidly changing world that are likely to be of legislative importance towards 2020 and beyond. It focuses on:

  • People – the projected increase of the population, both in the UK and globally. There are also trends towards
    increasing longevity, resulting in an ageing population and a larger proportion of people above retirement age.
  • Technological change – for example the ongoing rise in computing power and the growth in the number of devices that are connected to the internet, which have helped to fuel a massive rise in data collection and use.
  • Climate change – the increasing impacts of rising greenhouse gas levels in the Earth’s atmosphere is projected to cause more extreme weather patterns both in the UK and globally.
  • Resource security and sustainability – increasing pressure on natural capital (such as land and water) and rising demand for resources such as food and energy.
  • Inequality – variations in the measures of income inequality, and its impact across a range of policy areas including education and health.
  • Governance issues – such as new global tensions, the future of the UK, its relationship with the EU and changes in the way that public services are delivered.

POSTnotes POST-PN-0500

Authors: Peter Border; Abbi Hobbs; Jonathan Wentworth; Aaron Goater; Lydia Harriss; Chandrika Nath; Sarah Bunn; Caroline Kenny

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The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology produces independent, balanced and accessible briefings on public policy issues related to science and technology.