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Petrol Bugs

(Guest blogged by Nonny Mouse) There’s good news and bad news. The good news is that scientists in Silicon Valley have bred genetically modified b

(Guest blogged by Nonny Mouse)

There’s good news and bad news. The good news is that scientists in Silicon Valley have bred genetically modified bacteria that consumes agricultural waste and secrete crude petroleum oil.

That’s the good news. The bad news is…

I’m not quite sure. What about this pulling research and development away from cleaner renewable energy sources just to make more of the old stuff? Well, except… instead of pumping out more carbon into the atmosphere, this “Oil 2.0” is not only renewable but also carbon negative – it emits less carbon than is sucked from the atmosphere by the raw materials from which it is made. Oh, and the raw materials? Not going to be corn (so no more tortilla riots in Mexico City) nor palm oil (no more deforestation in the Amazon) – it eats wheat straw from California and woodchips from the timber industry in the South.

Well, how about everyone’s car having to be modified to burn the new stuff? Y’know, like hybrid and electric cars? Gee, um, nope. It’s completely interchangeable with fossil fuel oils we now suck out of the ground and refine. You wouldn’t even notice a change-over at the pumps… except for maybe the price once decoupled from OPEC.

How about cost? Hmm.

“Five to seven years ago, that process would have taken months and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars,” Greg Pal, senior director of LS9, the company making this stuff, says. “Now it can take weeks and cost maybe $20,000.”

What about… what about…? Genetic modification? Right, let’s not forget, GM is BAAAAD. Isn’t it? Hell, there’s gotta be something Big Oil can use to scare us into rejecting Oil 2.0…

We have the technology. We have the opportunities. We have the skills and the inventiveness. All we need is the will. And the politicians to listen to us instead of entrenched corporate interests…

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