8. Coal: The World’s Workhorse

Investors all too often dismiss coal as an anachronism, a relic of the 19th century. For many environmental groups, coal is public enemy No. 1 because of its reputation as the dirtiest of the fossil fuels. Coal will remain an important part of the global energy mix in the 21st century, just as it was in the 18th and 19th centuries.

Countries like China and India will continue to pursue natural gas, nuclear, and other sources of electric power, but coal remains the cheap choice in both nations and will still be the largest source of power in 20 years.

Coal doesn’t get enough respect. The mobile telephones, personal computers (PC), and flat-panel televisions that are the trappings of modern life in a high-tech economy ...

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