Yesterday on March 29, 2017, a day that will live in infamy, President Trump, while surrounded by coal miners and his EPA administrator, Scout Pruit, signed an executive order to cut climate change regulations that were put in place by President Barack Obama. Okay, maybe I am being a little over dramatic…or am I? He states that with this new executive order, it will pave the way for coal jobs to return to the industry which is another promise he campaigned on and has “delivered” on that promise. Unfortunately, it comes at a cost of higher carbon emissions and opens the door to new coal mining factories on federal land. Also, this pushes our country further away from the Paris Climate Agreement in which many countries have already agreed to work together to combat climate change, which has been supported by many scientists as the number 1 problem for the human race. Not the planet. The human race. The Earth has been around for billions of years and if every living thing dies off, including us, it will do just fine and continue on.
Unfortunately, the President does not realize that coal jobs have been disappearing for years. The energy industry has slowing moved to other sources of energy such as wind, solar and nuclear energy and the answer for this is quite simple. Solar power and wind power is just getting cheaper and cheaper. It doesn’t have to do with oil/coal prices either. It’s about technology. For instances, solar panels are getting cheaper to make and the market for such products are booming. Take a look at this chart from Bloomberg in 2016.
This chart demonstrates as solar prices fall, the number of installations increase over time.
Even countries that continue to develop, are not using coal as years before and if we look to developed countries like China, it has basically flatten. So how are coal jobs going to make a comeback if that part of the industry isn’t doing any good? Well, that’s simple too. They’re not. Sure, maybe a couple hundred jobs will return but that does not satisfy the other thousands of workers. Also, for how long can a hurting industry last? Have a look at this final chart by the The Bureau of Labor and Statistics:
since 2007, the mining industry has seen a steady decline in employment. These are the facts people. Look, I hate to see people lose their jobs. I do but when technology changes, we have to change with it. We have to learn new skills and move to the new industry which there are better opportunities and income. Then again, that’s just the economic side of me talking.