Mining, like everything else, is an ever-changing business.
And the industry is changing.
In fact, the sector is changing faster than most industries.
The mining industry is in a competitive environment right now, says Steve Zisserman, who was vice president of the American Mining Association from 2003 to 2010.
“In the U.S., we’re the leader in mining,” he says.
But that’s changing fast, too.
The number of U.N. member nations that rely on coal for electricity has declined from more than 300 nations in 2006 to just 27 today.
And while the United States still consumes the most coal in the world, it’s no longer the country with the highest emissions per capita.
In 2015, the U,S.
produced nearly the same amount of coal as Mexico and Brazil.
But the mining boom is not yet over.
The United States is still the largest coal-producing nation, and it’s still expanding.
And with more countries adopting solar power, the demand for energy is likely to continue growing.
“It’s going to continue to grow,” says Zissman.
And it’s going fast, he says, with solar, battery storage, and other renewable technologies.
It is difficult to measure exactly how much mining is driving the coal decline.
But many industry experts agree that it’s not sustainable.
“We have to realize we’re going to have to do something about it,” says Mark Zollman, director of the Center for Energy, the Economy, and Environment at George Mason University.
He argues that the industry can be helped by more federal and state policies.
But for now, he believes the country needs to find a new way to grow the economy.
“I don’t think the industry has a long-term solution,” he tells Business Insider.
“I think the government needs to be doing something.”
What are some ways the mining sector can play a role in a transition away from coal?
Zissman says that the U:1.
Find a way to make it easier for American workers to be productive in the mines.2.
Invest in new technology and technology innovations to cut emissions.3.
Support more renewable energy generation.4.
Develop a way for people to buy renewable energy.5.
Make it easier to get a mortgage on their home.
This story was originally published on Business Insider and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.