Non-renewable resources have been the backbone of the energy industry around the world since the beginning of the industrial revolution. However, these resources have also become increasingly controversial as their connection with climate change has become more evident.
One important characteristic of non-renewable resources is the length of time is takes for these resources to form. Some non-renewable resources, such as coal, take hundreds of millions of years to form. This means that between now and when your great-great-great grandchildren are born, no new coal will have been fully formed – not even close. This also means that once we use non-renewable resources, they are effectively gone.
Additionally, non-renewable resources are generally fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas which, in the process of production and consumption, create pollution and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
Alberta is a resource-rich province with ample deposits of many forms of fossil fuels, so it is likely that you know someone who has worked in the industry producing, developing, refining, shipping or distributing energy in one of its forms. With increasing pressure from climate change, global markets, and new technology there is growing demand for new and improved renewable resources, which will be discussed in the next section.
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