It’s the end of an era for coal.
Production of the fossil fuel dropped by a record amount in 2016, according to BP Plc’s annual review of global energy trends. China, the world’s biggest energy consumer, burned the least coal in six years and use dropped for a fourth year in the U.S, the company’s data show.
Coal, the most polluting fuel that was once the world’s fastest growing energy source, has been a target of countries and companies alike as the world begins to work toward the goals of the Paris climate agreement. Consumption is falling as the world’s biggest energy companies promote cleaner-burning natural gas, China’s economy evolves to focus more on services than heavy manufacturing and renewable energy like wind and solar becomes cheaper.
“The fortunes of coal appear to have taken a decisive break from the past,” BP’s Chief Economist Spencer Dale said at a briefing in London on Tuesday. The most important outcome of this “is carbon emissions, which saw little or no growth for a third consecutive year.”