A brief primer on coal’s demise
“Why is it that coal is on a pre-destined trajectory to decline?”
The current president of the United States has promised to return the dwindling coal industry back to it’s pre-post-industrial “glory days”, and has already taken action to lobotomize it’s supposed vanquisher, the EPA. However, despite Trump’s rhetoric, coal is on an inevitable decline regardless of action from regulatory agencies. Instead, the main agents for the decline of coal are simple economic and market factors.
Over a century of mining activity in the Appalachia region of the United States has resulted in a dearth of easy to reach coal. This causes the prices for said item to rise, hamstring their market competitiveness with the ever declining prices for renewable energy resources (which compose of two-thirds of all new generating capacity in the United States). Compounding this with growing international concern for climate change and a decreasing desire to use power supplies to contribute to it, the market for coal is shrinking ever more. So even with the environmental regulations set by the prior administration’s EPA, not much can be done to save coal. Instead of trying to resurrect a dying technology, the United states should move forward with adopting cleaner forms of energy, since a nation walks faster looking forward