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China's coal consumption falls for 3rd year in a row

  • FILE - In this Nov. 3, 2015 file photo, smoke and steam rise from the smokestack of a coal-fired power plant near Ordos in northern China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. According to official data released Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017, China's consumption of coal fell in 2016 for a third year in a row as the world's top polluter has emerged as a leader in efforts to tackle climate change. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, File)

    FILE - In this Nov. 3, 2015 file photo, smoke and steam rise from the smokestack of a coal-fired power plant near Ordos in northern China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. According to official data released Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017, China's consumption of coal fell in 2016 for a third year in a row as the world's top polluter has emerged as a leader in efforts to tackle climate change. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Nov. 4, 2015 file photo, a Chinese flag moves in the breeze as a loader moves coal at a coal mine near Ordos in northern China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. According to official data released Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017, China's consumption of coal fell in 2016 for a third year in a row as the world's top polluter has emerged as a leader in efforts to tackle climate change. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, File)

    FILE - In this Nov. 4, 2015 file photo, a Chinese flag moves in the breeze as a loader moves coal at a coal mine near Ordos in northern China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. According to official data released Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017, China's consumption of coal fell in 2016 for a third year in a row as the world's top polluter has emerged as a leader in efforts to tackle climate change. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Nov. 4, 2015 file photo, a worker monitors coal being carried along conveyor ramps at a coal mine near Ordos in northern China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. According to official data released Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017, China's consumption of coal fell in 2016 for a third year in a row as the world's top polluter has emerged as a leader in efforts to tackle climate change. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, File)

    FILE - In this Nov. 4, 2015 file photo, a worker monitors coal being carried along conveyor ramps at a coal mine near Ordos in northern China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. According to official data released Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017, China's consumption of coal fell in 2016 for a third year in a row as the world's top polluter has emerged as a leader in efforts to tackle climate change. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein, File)  (The Associated Press)

China says that its coal consumption fell in 2016 for a third year in a row.

Preliminary data released Tuesday by the National Bureau of Statistics shows that coal consumption fell by 4.7 percent. The bureau says the share of coal in China's total energy consumption mix fell to 62 percent in 2016 from 64 percent the year before.

Coal is the biggest source of heat-trapping greenhouse gases that are the primary cause of global warming.

While China is the world's biggest consumer of coal, its consumption levels have dropped as economic growth slows to its lowest level since 1990. With its major cities gripped by choking air pollution, China has also aimed to reduce coal usage in favor of natural gas and renewable energy.