Non Renewable Resources

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A non-renewable resource is a natural resource which cannot be produced, re-grown, regenerated, or reused on a scale which can sustain its consumption rate. These resources often exist in a fixed amount, or are consumed much faster than nature can recreate them. Fossil fuel (such as coal, petroleum and natural gas) and nuclear power are examples. In contrast, resources such as timber (when harvested sustainably) or metals (which can be recycled) are considered renewable resources

Fossil fuel

A temporary oil drilling rig in Western Australia
Further information: Oil depletion
Natural resources such as coal, petroleum, oil and natural gas take thousands of years to form naturally and
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Currently, the world is consuming coal at a rate of about 5 billion metric tons per year. The main use of coal is for power generation, because it is a relatively inexpensive way to produce power.

Coal is used to produce over 50% of the electricity in the United States. In addition to electricity production, coal is sometimes used for heating and cooking in less developed countries and in rural areas of developed countries. If consumption continues at the same rate, the current reserves will last for more than 200 years. The burning of coal results in significant atmospheric pollution. The sulfur contained in coal forms sulfur dioxide when burned. Harmful nitrogen oxides, heavy metals, and carbon dioxide are also released into the air during coal burning. The harmful emissions can be reduced by installing scrubbers and electrostatic precipitators in the smokestacks of power plants. The toxic ash remaining after coal burning is also an environmental concern and is usually disposed into landfills.

Crude oil or liquid petroleum, is a fossil fuel that is refined into many different energy products (e.g., gasoline, diesel fuel, jet fuel, heating oil). Oil forms underground in rock such as shale, which is rich in organic materials. After the oil forms, it migrates upward into porous reservoir rock such as sandstone or limestone, where it can become trapped by an overlying impermeable cap rock.
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