A non-renewable resource (also known as a finite resource) is made up of deceased organic material. The organic material, with the aid of heat and pressure, becomes a fuel such as oil or gas. Also considered non-renewable are resources that are consumed much faster than nature can create them. Fossil fuels (such as coal, petroleum, and natural gas), nuclear power (uranium) and certain aquifers are examples. Metal ores are prime examples of non-renewable resources. In contrast, resources such as timber (when harvested sustainably) and wind (used to power energy conversion systems) are considered renewable resources.
Fossil fuel 
Natural resources such as coal, petroleum (crude oil) and natural gas take thousands of years to form naturally and cannot be replaced as fast as they are being consumed. Eventually fossil-based resources will become too costly to harvest and humanity will need to shift its reliance to other sources of energy. These resources are yet to be named.
At present, the main energy source used by humans is non-renewable fossil fuels. Since the dawn of internal combustion engine technologies in the 17th century, petroleum and other fossil fuels have remained in continual demand. As a result, conventional infrastructure and transport systems, which are fitted to combustion engines, remain prominent throughout the globe. The continual use of fossil fuels at the current rate is believed to increase global warming and cause more severe climate change.
Radioactive fuel 
The use of nuclear technology requires a radioactive fuel. Uranium ore is present in the ground at relatively low concentrations and mined in 19 countries. This mined uranium is used to fuel energy-generating nuclear reactors with fissionable uranium-238 which generates heat that is ultimately used to power turbines to generate electricity.
Nuclear power provides about 6% of the world's energy and 13–14% of the world's electricity. The expense of the nuclear industry remains predominantly reliant on subsidies and indirect insurance subsidies to continue. Nuclear energy production is associated with potentially dangerous radioactive contamination as it relies upon unstable elements. In particular, nuclear power facilities produce about 200,000 metric tons of low and intermediate level waste (LILW) and 10,000 metric tons of high level waste (HLW) (including spent fuel designated as waste) each year worldwide.
The use of nuclear fuel and the high-level radioactive waste the nuclear industry generates is highly hazardous to people and wildlife. Radiocontaminants in the environment can enter the food chain and become bioaccumulated. Internal or external exposure can cause mutagenic DNA breakage producing teratogenic generational birth defects, cancers and other damage. The United Nations (UNSCEAR) estimated in 2008 that average annual human radiation exposure includes 0.01 mSv (milli-Sievert) from the legacy of past atmospheric nuclear testing plus the Chernobyl disaster and the nuclear fuel cycle, along with 2.0 mSv from natural radioisotopes and 0.4 mSv from cosmic rays; all exposures vary by location. Some radioisotopes in nuclear waste emit harmful radiation for the prolonged period of 4.5 billion years or more, and storage has risks of containment. The storage of waste, health implications and dangers of radioactive fuel continue to be a topic of debate, resulting in a controversial and unresolved industry.
Renewable resources 
Natural resources, called renewable resources, are replaced by natural processes and forces persistent in the natural environment. There are intermittent and reoccurring renewables, and recyclable materials, which are utilized during a cycle across a certain amount of time, and can be harnessed for any number of cycles.
The production of goods and services by manufacturing products in economic systems creates many types of waste during production and after the consumer has made use of it. The material is then either incinerated, buried in a landfill or recycled for reuse. Recycling turns materials of value that would otherwise become waste into valuable resources again.
The natural environment, with soil, water, forests, plants and animals are all renewable resources, as long as they are adequately monitored, protected and conserved. Sustainable agriculture is the cultivation of plant materials in a manner that preserves plant and animal ecosystems over the long term. The overfishing of the oceans is one example of where an industry practice or method can threaten an ecosystem, endanger species and possibly even determine whether or not a fishery is sustainable for use by humans. An unregulated industry practice or method can lead to a complete resource depletion.
The renewable energy from the sun, wind, wave, biomass and geothermal energies are based on renewable resources. Renewable resources such as the movement of water (hydropower, tidal power and wave power), wind and radiant energy from geothermal heat (used for geothermal power) and solar energy (used for solar power) are practically infinite and cannot be depleted, unlike their non-renewable counterparts, which are likely to run out if not used sparingly.
The potential wave energy on coastlines can provide 1/5 of world demand. Hydroelectric power can supply 1/3 of our total energy global needs. Geothermal energy can provide 1.5 more times the energy we need. There is enough wind to power the planet 30 times over, wind power could power all of humanity's needs alone. Solar currently supplies only 0.1% of our world energy needs, but there is enough out there to power humanity's needs 4,000 times over, the entire global projected energy demand by 2050.
Renewable energy and energy efficiency are no longer niche sectors that are promoted only by governments and environmentalists. The increasing levels of investment and that more of the capital is from conventional financial actors, both suggest that sustainable energy has become mainstream and the future of energy production, as non-renewable resources decline. This is reinforced by climate change concerns, nuclear dangers and accumulating radioactive waste, high oil prices, peak oil and increasing government support for renewable energy. These factors are commercializing renewable energy, enlarging the market and growing demand, the adoption of new products to replace obsolete technology and the conversion of existing infrastructure to a renewable standard.
Economic models 
In economics, a non-renewable resource is defined as goods, where greater consumption today implies less consumption tomorrow. David Ricardo in his early works analysed the pricing of exhaustible resources, where he argued that the price of a mineral resource should increase over time. He argued that the spot price is always determined by the mine with the highest cost of extraction, and mine owners with lower extraction costs benefit from a differential rent. The first model is defined by Hotelling's rule, which is a 1931 economic model of non-renewable resource management by Harold Hotelling. It shows that efficient exploitation of a nonrenewable and nonaugmentable resource would, under otherwise stable conditions, lead to a depletion of the resource. The rule states that this would lead to a net price or "Hotelling rent" for it that rose annually at a rate equal to the rate of interest, reflecting the increasing scarcity of the resources. The Hartwick's rule provides an important result about the sustainability of welfare in an economy that uses non-renewable source.
See also 
- Clean technology
- Energy conservation
- Fossil fuel
- Fossil water
- Green design
- Hermann Scheer
- Hubbert's peak
- Liebig's law of the minimum
- Natural resource management
- Peak oil
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