An advance in basic research makes nuclear fusion the latest shiny object in energy technology. It mustn’t distract from real decarbonization options that are already set for prime time.
The quest for nuclear fusion is a bit late. Look up. It was mastered by the sun 4.5 billion years ago. The headlines screamed, “Scientists have taken the first step toward cheap, clean and near-unlimited power by harnessing the power of the sun.” We’ve already learned to tap into the sun’s energy using wind turbines and solar panels. We’re done. The headline should be that we don’t need to waste more money, time, and scientific know-how on reinventing nuclear fusion. We already have access to a limitless supply.
Reinventing nuclear fusion is a luxury we can’t afford. Instead, let’s divert the shockingly wasteful efforts on nuclear fusion toward stabilizing the climate, improving photo-voltaic efficiencies, and improving battery technologies … before it’s too late.