- Close to a million coal miners globally could lose their jobs through 2050, as many existing coal mines are due to expire while alternative sources of energy become more readily available.
- The losses, projected to affect more than a third (37%) of the industry’s 2.7 million coal miners worldwide, could occur even without ambitious climate targets or pledges to phase out coal.
- China and India could be among the most heavily impacted countries, while the United States could feel a moderate impact.
The global coal industry could shed almost a million jobs between now and 2050, as existing mines around the world shutter while cheaper wind and solar power become more readily available, the Global Energy Monitor said in a report Tuesday.
The losses, projected to affect more than a third (37%) of the industry’s 2.7 million coal miners worldwide, could occur even without ambitious climate targets or pledges to phase out coal. More than 400,000 workers operate mines that could be depleted or discontinued after 2035, and up to 100 miners a day could be laid off over the next 12 years.
China and India could be among the hardest-hit countries. China accounts for more than half, or 1.5 million, of the 2.7 million-strong global workforce, while its top three coal-producing regions account for more than a quarter of the world’s output. China’s coal-rich Shanxi province is projected to shed more than 240,000 coal jobs—the most of any region globally.
India, which employs close to 337,000 coal miners, is also at high risk of job losses. Coal India, a state-owned coal company and one of the country’s largest employers in the industry, could shed almost 74,000 jobs by 2050.
Other countries that could be heavily impacted with a high proportion of mines scheduled to expire over the coming decades include Indonesia, South Africa, Russia, Poland, and Australia. The United States could feel a moderate impact, with the rate of layoffs expected to peak in the 2040s.
The Global Energy Monitor used the expected “life” of mines around the world, or the amount of time coal companies intend to extract coal from the mine, to assess the number of jobs at risk. The report looked into 4,300 current and proposed coal mines which together contribute 90% of the world’s output.
Global coal production is expected to increase slightly this year to a record 8.365 billion tons, driven by robust growth in Asia, before leveling off and falling slightly through 2025, the International Energy Agency projects.