Speaking at the Stockbrokers Association of Australia annual stockbrokers conference, King said the changing energy market was fuelling a move away from coal because of better gas prices.
“The development of shale resources in the US, enabled by high gas prices and technological developments, has drastically altered the US energy picture,” he said.
With the supply of US gas to Europe and Asia, the Australian coal industry has been undercut and is likely to suffer further from a reduction in investment.
King said there had recently been an "enormous withdrawal of capital" from the coal sector as mines were being closed and workers were being left to look for new jobs.
He said the push to “go green” was also going to affect the coal industry going forward, with figures from the US showing a drop in emissions following a move away from coal.
“The abundance of cheap gas has shifted the US generation fuel mix substantially away from coal to gas, contributing to a marked decline in greenhouse gas emissions to levels not seen since 1995,” he said.
“Coal still dominates Australia’s fuel mix, resulting in the US being a less carbon intensive economy than Australia.”
King said unlike the US, which is enjoying a better gas price, Australia continued to be burdened by the added cost of subsidies for renewable energy which are decreasing Australia’s global competitiveness.