As U.S. companies eagerly eye the global coal market, especially China, what has happened to Indonesia's economy should be a cautionary tale. Coal has done little to improve the livelihoods of the communities where it operates.
Within hours of renowned climate scientists announcing a staggering milestone in carbon dioxide emissions, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn rolled out the booster wagons for Big Coal and celebrated his state's five-fold increase in record coal exports.
Unless India thinks it can lock down a monopoly on the global market, good luck fueling that pipeline. Even Australia's grand plans to more than double its coal exports wouldn't put a dent in this import bill. Speaking of bills...
We must all stand together to ensure that, just as we are reducing our coal use here in the US, we don't just export that coal -- and that pollution -- to other countries, devastating local Northwest communities in the process.