President-elect Donald Trump has vowed to put coal miners back to work and deliver 1,000 years of clean coal, but the world's leading energy authority on Wednesday delivered a starkly different forecast.
The International Energy Agency sees little respite for the coal industry in its 2016 World Energy Outlook. Over the next five years, the agency projects U.S. coal companies will continue to cut capacity to battle falling demand, a global oversupply and slumping prices.
"With no global upturn in demand in sight for coal, the search for market equilibrium depends on cuts to supply capacity, mainly in China and the United States," the IEA said.
That sets up a difficult backdrop for Trump's first term. The Republican has promised to turn the tide for U.S. coal miners by rolling back regulations and ending President Barack Obama's moratorium on new coal mining on federal land.
The IEA sees global market forces standing in the way of a U.S. coal recovery. Abundant and low-cost natural gas will continue to eat into coal's share of electricity production. Climate change policies will expedite the retirement of old, inefficient coal-fired plants. The share of steel produced in coal furnaces will continue to fall.