Trump and the Myths about the Coal Industry

By rolling back Obama’s environmental regulation Trump claims to have restored jobs in the coal industry.

Actually, this is not the way that coal is mined. Go to the bottom of the blog for that.

Experts in the industry have already pointed out, repeatedly, that the coal jobs are extremely unlikely to come back. The plight of the coal industry is more a function of changing energy markets and increased demand for natural gas than anything else.

That national impact is only likely to get smaller, regardless of Trump’s actions. Even a quarter-century ago, the coal industry employed only 131,000 people. If Trump were to somehow bring all those jobs back, there’d still be more people employed by the retail shoe sales industry (224,000).

Closing coal mines attracts media attention. Jobs are highly concentrated in small towns and effect is devastating on the local economy. Closing carwashes does not have the same media effect.  So what Trump is doing is good politics but not necessarily good economics.

And certainly not good for the environment.

It doesn’t really matter because no one is going to reopen the coal mines. They are uneconomical.

Apparently nobody told the Queensland government whose Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk visited India last month to urge Adani to proceed with a mine that is unviable at expected coal prices without huge government assistance.

coal 3.jpeg

In addition, the scale of water demand from Adani’s giant coal mine appears to be larger than expected, as the company seeks approval for a large, additional flood-harvesting dam.

As Fairfax Media revealed, the company’s proposed Carmichael coal mine in the Galilee Basin was last week controversially granted uncapped access to the groundwater in a licence that expired in 2077.

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You must wonder how many jobs this machine creates.

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