Last month, the UK’s Atomic Weapons Establishment and Rutherford Appleton Laboratory signed a memorandum of understanding with the National Ignition Facility of the US in a bid to develop clean energy from nuclear fusion. Although the nuclear fusion idea has been around for decades, there appears to be a new sense of optimism and credibility around its potential as a real energy source. Announcing the agreement at the Institute of Physics, science minister David Willetts argued that nuclear fusion can no longer be dismissed as something on the far horizon.
Affordable, low-carbon energy has to be the dream environmental ticket. It would end the need to implore people to make difficult lifestyle changes or choose between the economy or the environment. It would end fuel poverty. And today’s conversations about carbon taxes and personal carbon allowances would become as arcane as slide-rules and pounds, shillings and pence.