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It is some time since I last wrote about energy policy in this column. Two considerations bring me back to it now. The first is the Government's commitment to cutting back carbon dioxide emissions by 20% below the 1990 figures by 2010. Leaving aside my natural scepticism about such targets, this is a formidable ambition. The second is a report that the environment Royal Commission is urging the Government to discontinue the use of all fossil fuels by the middle of the next century.