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What are polluting or dirty energies

There are a large number of renewable or alternative energies that help protect the environment and take care of the planet, since they emit much less pollutants than others. In addition to this, they have the advantage of coming from renewable sources. However, there are also dirty energies that can come from renewable sources, such as nuclear energy. So, what are the polluting energies? What are polluting or dirty energies ? Keep reading this AgroCorrn article and we’ll explain it to you!

You may also be interested in: What is nuclear energy and how does it work?
  1. What is a polluting or dirty energy
  2. Polluting energies: examples
  3. Difference between dirty energy and non-renewable energy

What is a polluting or dirty energy

Dirty energies are those energies that during their production, distribution and consumption process have high environmental costs . Of all these costs, one of the most harmful and unsustainable for the environment is the emission of greenhouse gases , which increase the global process of climate change. Some of these gases are carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, methane, chlorofluorocarbons, or ozone.

These energies are usually obtained from the burning of fossil fuels , such as coal, oil or gas, but not always, as is the case with nuclear energy or large hydroelectric dams. Below we explain in more depth each of these energies.

Polluting energies: examples

Here are some examples of polluting or dirty energies :


Gas is considered dirty energy . However, it is a transitional energy and is the least polluting of the fossil fuels. Unlike other sources of CO2 emission such as coal or oil, gas is less. However, its use continues to represent a great problem for the progress of renewable energies .

Natural gas also has a high environmental impact and high energy expenditure, since to store it, it is necessary to compress it and liquefy it at very low temperatures. In addition, large works and infrastructures are needed when transporting it, which are capable of producing great alterations in the landscape and its biodiversity. Also, there are high risks of methane leakage. All of these factors make it dirty energy.

Coal and oil

Coal and oil are the two most widely used fossil fuels on the planet and they are also the most polluting energies that exist. These emit a large amount of greenhouse gases, being the main culprits of the greenhouse effect and climate change and causing not only air pollution, but also land and water.

In addition, they are not renewable energies, that is, they come from limited sources and there will come a time when they are completely exhausted. Therefore, if we continue to use them at this rate, they will run out and we will have to find new alternative ways.

Nuclear energy

Although nuclear energy is not such a dirty energy, it does contribute to global climate change. The radioactive waste that it produces and the accidents in nuclear plants, make that this energy cannot be considered an alternative to fossil fuels.

Another drawback of nuclear energy is that the plants work with elements that are very unstable and extremely dangerous in the event of a leak. For example, some of the greatest natural and human disasters in the history of the planet, such as Chernobyl or Fukushima, have been caused by nuclear power plants.

Furthermore, nuclear energy has the disadvantage of storing waste and that the materials needed to generate it, such as plutonium or uranium, are scarce.

Hydroelectric power

Hydropower is a clear example of energy that comes from renewable sources, but is also dirty. The hydroelectric dams :

  • They alter ecosystems.
  • They damage agricultural areas.
  • They destroy cultural heritage.
  • They displace communities where they settle.

Large hydroelectric plants decrease the quality of the water and affect the conditions of the flora and fauna of the area , forcing species to migrate or preventing them from continuing with their life cycle. For example, large reservoirs prevent salmon from going up the river to spawn. In addition, they are also a source of greenhouse gas emissions, since the construction of their deposits emits tons of methane.

Difference between dirty energy and non-renewable energy

Technically, polluting or dirty energy is not the same as non-renewable energy . Thus, there are energies that can come from renewable sources, such as some of those mentioned (nuclear and hydroelectric energy), which are considered polluting or dirty. While almost all energies that come from non-renewable sources, such as fossil fuels, are classified as dirty energies.

The fact is that when we talk about dirty energy or non-renewable energy, we are talking about two different concepts . The classification between renewable and non-renewable energies is something that has to do with the material that is used and the availability we have of it. However, that does not mean that they are not polluting . On the other hand, clean or dirty energies tell us about the environmental impact that energies have on the planet.

If you want to read more articles similar to What are polluting or dirty energies , we recommend that you enter our category of Non-renewable energies .

Maria Anderson

Hello, I am a blogger specialized in environmental, health and scientific dissemination issues in general. The best way to define myself as a blogger is by reading my texts, so I encourage you to do so. Above all, if you are interested in staying up to date and reflecting on these issues, both on a practical and informative level.

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