I'm not opposed to cap-and-trade emissions controls, and was touting them over two decades ago to Margaret Thatcher's think-tank. But a serious carbon tax seems to me the only way to create the incentives for the private sector to solve or at least treat our ruinous oil-addiction. In that vein, here's some encouraging news:

J. Craig Venter says he expects biology to largely replace what has been created by the oil industry. If anyone can comfortably make a statement like that to a room full of venture capitalists, it’s Venter. The genomics guru, who has had his own genome sequenced and has a new memoir out he’s looking to plug, detailed his vision for “designing and synthesizing life” and its applications for energy to a group of VCs down on Sand Hill Road on Tuesday.

Venter explained his genome sequencing work, which has been his focus for the past 15 years, as “bringing biology into a digital world.” He previously jump-started the race to produce the first full transcription of a human genome, and his team is now close to creating the first new artificial life form by building a synthetic chromosome and inserting it into a living bacterial cell.

How does all this apply to clean tech? Venter’s startup, Synthetic Genomics, is commercializing the research to create biofuels, which Venter says are far better more energy-efficient, more hardy, and easier to blend in the existing fuel system than traditional biofuels ethanol and butanol.

More here.

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