Sustainability Plan for Non-renewable Energy Sources
In recent decades, the low price of fossil fuels has lead to abuse and a dependence on non-renewable energy sources. While coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear energy have been cost effective sources to our country’s energy needs, they have been ravaging the environment.
When coal burns, it releases many compounds into the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide (CO2), sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides, and mercury are released when coal is burned (Berg, 2007). Carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, is contributing to global warming. Sulfur and nitrogen oxides generally create acid when they combine with water, contributing to acid deposition (Berg, 2007). Before the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977, coal was extracted by removing the vegetation, soil, and rock before extracting the coal (Berg, 2007). After the coal was extracted, the mines were abandoned which drains acid and toxic minerals into the ecosystem (Berg, 2007). Landslides have also resulted from the unstable land around surface mines. Another land destructive method for extracting coal is mountaintop removal. Mountaintop removal has accounted for the leveling of one fourth of the mountaintops in West Virginia (Berg, 2007).
Crude oil and natural gasses also produce carbon dioxide when burned (Berg, 2007). Crude oil is used almost exclusively for fueling our automobiles, in turn producing much of the carbon dioxide that is leading to global warming. A lesser known environmental hazard is the transportation of oil (Berg, 2007). Oil spills cause devastating effects on the environment. Not only do they kill the current wildlife, they have crippling effects on future plant and animal populations.
Nuclear energy is much more efficient than burning coal, oil, or natural gasses. Nuclear energy is much cleaner than those sources as well. The environmental hazards arising from the use of nuclear energy are nuclear plant meltdowns...