A basic commodity that Americans often take for granted is sadly lacking across wide portions of the world. Some 3.6 billion people have no or only partial access to electricity.
The developing world is responding with an unprecedented effort to build new power plants. As a fuel for those power plants, coal is abundant, easy to transport and store, and offers a cost-efficient way to lift nations out of electricity poverty.
The benefits of greater electricity availability are dramatic and undeniable. In India, for example, improved access to electricity over the past 20 years has led to huge decreases in poverty rates and major improvements in quality of life.
In China, urbanization has led to steadily increasing demand for coal-fueled electricity.
As the repository of the world’s largest economically recoverable coal reserves, the United States has an important role to play in continuing the advancement of human living conditions around the world.
—International Energy Agency, Coal Industry Advisory Board
—Berkeley Science Review, 2008