What fraction of oil becomes pollution versus benign?

January 3, 2024 by Joshua
in Nature

What fraction of oil ultimately becomes pollution? Or of coal or gas? I’m curious if you can extract oil from the Earth without polluting.

We may use the the materials for purposes we value, but what of the material itself? It came from plants originally, but I can almost only think of ways it becomes pollution, not benign.

If we make it into plastic, eventually it becomes microplastic and harms us. Gas, jet fuel, and other parts used for fuel eventually become greenhouse gas, but how much? All of it? If not, what fraction?

Some may be made into fertilizer. How much of what becomes fertilizer eventually becomes plants? That part sounds like maybe not pollution, though I understand much of the fertilizer spread on a field doesn’t go into the plants but goes into rivers and eventually creates ocean dead zones.

These articles and the images below look like it becomes nearly all pollution. Can you extract oil from the Earth without polluting?

Below are two graphical representations

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