In fact, President Trump's obsession with making `coal great again' is worrying not only from environmental perspective, but also from economic development perspective, and it exemplifies the Administration's bizarre view of the U.S. economy. For a number of reasons, which I don't have room to discuss here at length, but are worth mentioning in passing.

Much of the decline in coal's fortunes from 2012 on is accounted for by non-environmental policy factors. As the report shows, growth in energy supply from natural gas accounted for 49 percent of the total market share loss accruing to coal. Further 26 percent of coal's decline was down to a drop in overall demand, and 18 percent was accounted for by renewables. Only 3-5 percent of coal's market share decline was down to Obama Administration's environmental regulations.


In simple terms, coal hardly makes any sense as a target for either investment, or jobs creation, or economic value added creation. Not because the U.S. is leading the world on the environmental policies, but because China is shifting its energy mix toward cleaner alternatives. Worse, improving coal demand outlook makes even less sense for an Administration that actively promotes more gas production and exports. President Trump is missing the main point of changing global economy: no one wants coal anymore. Nor do many want more supplies of oil and gas, as clearly evidenced by collapse in worldwide prices of these sources of energy.

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