This is a very new field, with a need for genetic engineering. Hello, post-doc. Even though I'm not doing any functional genetics right now, I have enough background in it that I think I would not have a problem switching over after I got my Ph.D. What I'm doing right now, studying organisms in natural areas, has implications for conservation and management, but there is very little direct economic benefit from it, and so there is not a lot of money to fund it. Agriculture and biofuels to me are like nature made unnatural, and do not have as much gut appeal to me as traipsing about in the woods for my research, but they might have a much bigger impact on the future of our environment.
I do think that people in the first world need to consume a lot less. I have this dream of living in a house with solar panels that both power the house and charge the battery for my car. But I also have a dream of living in New England, where there is not a lot of sunlight. Let's cross our fingers about the algae.