Also, unpopular!

All of a sudden, everyone hates coal. (This may be a slight exaggeration.)

Shares of coal mining companies tumbled Monday as inventories continued to build with weaker demand in the slowing global economy. …

The coal industry has been battered this year as utilities switch to cheap natural gas from coal to generate electricity. Natural gas prices are low because of huge supplies resulting from widespread drilling in the nation’s shale deposits and soft demand for gas in the mild winter across much of the nation.

The International Monetary Fund lowered its outlook on Monday for global growth over the next two years. It also warned that Europe’s financial crisis and a potential budget crisis in the U.S. could slow world economic growth even more. That was not good news for coal producers who hope to offset falling U.S. demand with more shipments overseas.

As further evidence, here’s how the Dow Jones U.S. Coal Index has done over the last 12 months.

Click to embiggen.

Do not misunderstand: We love coal miners and coal country. (Ever been to West Virginia? Go! It’s beautiful!) We love Loretta Lynn (see below)! But nostalgia doesn’t seem like a great reason to ruin the atmosphere forever.