Competition from natural gas and climate change regulations dominate the outlook for North American thermal coal. The super abundance of natural gas developed from new technologies applied to tight oil and shale gas have driven North American natural gas prices down sharply. Cleaner burning and efficient, natural gas can often generate electricity less expensively than coal in much of US. The competitiveness of natural gas is significantly reducing the demand for coal to generate electricity – a market segment that makes up 90% of coal demand in North America. Natural gas/coal competition will dominate coal market fundamentals in the near-term.