Many environmentalists want to stop the burning of coal for electricity. But a new report from the International Energy Agency says this abundant resource is critical for lifting people out of poverty. Nations in Southeast Asia, for instance, have over 180 million people without sanitation and over 130 million without any electricity at all. So the IEA says that countries like Vietnam and Indonesia are expanding coal consumption to elevate quality of life, and that coal will be a cornerstone of development for decades to come. Indeed, with 43% of new electricity in SE Asia expected to come from coal in the next 20 years, it sounds like fossil fuels are still the quickest and best path out of grinding poverty.