Non-Renewable Energy Resources

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 non-renewable resources to form. Some non-renewable resources, such as coal, took 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 up 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.

For now, let’s take a look at two of the fossil fuels that are often up for heated debate in the province: Coal and Oil

<< Law & Energy

Non-Renewable Energy Resources: Coal >>





Energy Law

Lesson Plan: Fundamentals of Environmental Law
Lesson Plan: Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
Lesson Plan: Tragedy of the Commons
Lesson Plan: Climate Litigation

Curriculum Connections


Join our new AlbertaEnviroLaws Facebook group to ask questions, participate in discussions and other online engagement. Please share this widely so that the high school teachers and students in your circles hear about this great new resource for supplemental online learning. AlbertaEnviroLaws Facebook Group