While it is unwise to place too much hope in unproven technologies like carbon capture and sequestration or nuclear fusion as mechanisms to address climate change, there is also a good case to be made for expanded research and development in promising areas. As such, it is more than a bit regrettable that Canada withdrew participation from the largest international fusion research effort back in 2003. It may be a long shot and it may take fifty years or more to reach the point of commercial deployment, but fusion does seem to be one possible long-term option.
In addition to providing electrical power, fusion plants could also be used to produce hydrogen for vehicles by means of electrolysis. Depending on their ultimate ability to scale production up and down, they could also be important for peak power management. Even if we accept that 50 years may be an ambitious period for fusion technology to mature, it is possible that the first commercial fusion plants could be coming online just as coal plants built today are reaching the end of their lives.
Betting on a long shot isn’t always a bad idea – especially when it is one strategy among many alternatives.