Talk about biting the hand that feeds you. Research released by The Climate Institute today has found that coal is Australia's most hated energy source. Focus groups and an online poll gauged the views of more than 1000 people in April and May this year on their preferred energy sources, and coal came last. Even nuclear power fared better. Two-thirds of the people surveyed placed coal in their bottom three (that is, least popular) of the nine energy sources listed. There's another way of crunching the numbers by which nuclear is less popular than coal -- looking at which power source was ranked in last place -- but either way, coal is on the nose. It's an interesting result from the world's largest coal exporter (A$46 billion of exports in 2011), and from a country that generates about 75% of its electricity from coal. Australia has derived much of its present prosperity from its abundant black and brown coal reserves, which at current production rates will last for more than a century. So what does this research tell us -- that the public wants out?

Source: the Climate Institute, "Climate of the Nation 2012"