1. Time consuming to extract.
Mining coal, searching for oil, and building drills and pipes to extract and transport natural gas, are all very time consuming processes. This energy takes a lot of effort to get hold of!
2. Contribution to climate change.
Burning coal, oil and natural gas releases large amounts of carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide which are major contributors to global warming. These chemicals destroy the ozone layer, make the oceans acidic and saturated with carbon, and make the air more difficult for animals to breathe and plants to flourish in. By creating a ‘mantle’ of carbon rich air in the atmosphere, moreover, these chemicals trap the sun’s rays and make the atmosphere around the earth much warmer: this is the so-called greenhouse effect. It is called the greenhouse effect because it makes the atmosphere like a giant warm greenhouse.
3. Contribution to acid rain.
Burning fossil fuels releases oxides (including sulfur oxide) which cause rain to become acidic. This is very harmful to wildlife and also erodes buildings.
4. Dangerous for humans.
Non-renewable energy sources like fossil fuels can emit carbon monoxide. This is dangerous to humans and can cause respiratory problems and death if inhaled. It is especially dangerous because it is colorless and odorless and thus not detectable by the human eye or sense of smell. We might ask ourselves whether using non-renewable fuels is worth the risk when there are many less dangerous renewable energy sources out there.
5. Not viable for future generations.
Because they are, by definition, non-renewable, non-renewable energy sources will eventually run out. That means that humans will not be able to base our lives on them forever. In fact, our reserves of many non-renewables may run out by the end of this century. Using non-renewable energy sources without taking steps to make our infrastructure, homes and factories ready to use renewable sources of energy could be said to be very selfish. Moreover, using up all the non-renewable sources of energy now, without leaving any for future generations, can also be said to be a selfish act.
Many non-renewable sources of energy are quite dirty, leaving soot and dirt on furnishings in the home. When used in factories, they release soot and other dirty substances into the air which can coat buildings and pavements, and make cities feel dirty and grimy. One reason for the unsightliness of modern cities – which some people complain about – and the smog that can make them seem dark and overcast, is the overuse of dirty, non-renewable sources of energy.