World’s biggest polluter China’s coal consumption drops again

China’s coal consumption fell for the second year in a row, government data showed Monday, as the world’s biggest polluter attempts to tackle chronic pollution that accompanied economic growth.

Coal use fell 3.7 percent last year compared to 2014 levels, according to a report from China’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). The drop follows a 2.9 percent decrease in 2014.

China’s rise to the world’s second largest economy was largely powered by cheap, dirty coal. As growth slows, the country has had a difficult time weaning itself off the fuel, even as the pollution it causes wreaks havoc on the environment and public health.

China’s consumption of the fuel doubled in the decade to 2014, reaching more than four billion tonnes a year.

Monday’s figures did not give an absolute total.

It emerged in November that China had been under-reporting its consumption for years, after a different set of statistics were revised, with the figure for 2012 alone going up 17 percent, or 600 million tonnes.

There are widespread doubts over the accuracy of official statistics in China, which critics say can be subject to political manipulation.

Coal fell to 64 percent of the country’s energy sources last year, Monday’s NBS report said, down from 66 percent in 2014.

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