Is the burning of or the production of oil worse for the environment?



  1. 0 Votes

    The production of energy is not inherently bad for the environment; in places where the proper precautions are taken, such as Alaska, it can happen very cleanly. However, these procedures are rarely followed due to their high cost and inefficiency. In some situations, like extraction from tar sands near the surface of the earth, we don’t yet know how to contain the mess extraction creates.

    Burning oil, on the other hand, creates a lot of byproducts, but these can also theoretically be controlled. In the United States, all new cars are required to have catalytic converters, which transform many of those byproducts (e.g. carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide) into harmless compounds. Unfortunately, not all countries have a requirement that car engines be fitted with catalytic converters. The bulk of pollution caused by traffic in the US consists of carbon dioxide, which almost certainly has negative effects, but it’s unclear exactly what they are and will be in the future.

    So, at least in the United States, the production of oil probably causes more environmental harm, but it’s a complex issue.

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