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India could become the world's biggest thermal coal importer by It is already largely dependent on imports of coking coal, used to make steel. All this is good news for the mining industry. Asian firms will benefit most. Indonesia is now the biggest source of imports to China because of its proximity to the country and the high quality of its coal see article.
Indonesia has few proven reserves, but high prices may well spur further exploration.
Mongolia, which is also handily close to China, and Mozambique could join Australia, South Africa and Colombia as big exporters. The coal boom has spurred a sackful of deals. Chinese state-backed firms are also investing abroad. Two potential giants may yet weigh in. America, the world's second-biggest coal producer after China, has mammoth reserves and a power industry that is turning against coal currently responsible for almost half of domestic electricity generation.
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Environmental regulations and cheap shale gas will leave miners looking for new markets overseas. Russia, with vast coal reserves thousands of miles from the nearest port, might yet build the infrastructure needed to send its coal to the world market. This boon for miners bodes ill for the environment. The power stations frantically being built in China to feed the country's new electricity grid will be relatively efficient and thus less polluting than older coal plants around the world.
But that is a rather low bar. Coal is the filthiest fossil fuel and is cheap only because its dirtiness isn't included in the bill.
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Indeed, the coal boom blows yet another hole in the effort to restrain greenhouse-gas emissions. The Kyoto protocol makes countries responsible only for their own direct emissions. As environmentalists point out, rich countries that spurn coal-fired power while exporting the rocks to countries with less ambitious emissions targets are merely shifting the problem around the globe.
Alongside coal-fired power stations and coal exports, a coal conundrum is growing. Join them. Subscribe to The Economist today.
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The Economist apps. More up icon. The coal boom Burning ambitions What is good news for miners is bad news for the environment print-edition icon Print edition Business Jan 27th They were fantastic tattoos. Cherry blossoms, lilies, sparrows and skulls meandered about her arms, and her direct, humorous manner, along with several nicely timed glasses of wine was slowly numbing the pain of the work day, and an irritating twenty-dollar parking ticket.
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How dare I enter the borough without a sackful of quarters at my disposal? DJ Romeo was playing underground hip-hop, as well as intermittently calling out winning ticket numbers for sports gear, tickets and other merchandise. Winners waved their tickets in the air like traders on the New York stock exchange, while I suspiciously re-reviewed my meaningless ticket number, in hopes I had heard incorrectly. I won nothing.
I never do at these things, but I was still enjoying myself. The bar at Alibis has, cleverly, been left open to the kitchen near the front door. The smell of cheesesteaks wafted through the air, and I was powerless to resist. Five bucks buys you a sandwich that tastes like heaven, served up by a very sociable, fast-delivering cook.
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