BEIJING – China recorded its first drop in coal production since 2000 last year, as the world's biggest greenhouse gas emitter pulls back on its use of the fossil fuel and switches to cleaner energy sources.
According to the country's national coal association, China produced 3.5 billion tons of coal in the first 11 months of 2014, 2.1 percent less than the same period in 2013. The association estimates the drop for the entire year will reach 2.5 percent.
The report, quoted by the official Xinhua News Agency on Friday, said the profits of major Chinese coal companies dropped 44 percent in that same period to 110.5 billion yuan, or $18 billion, amid low global coal prices.
In November, China pledged to stop the growth in its carbon emissions by 2030, and leaders are under pressure to fight air pollution affecting much of the country.
China depends on coal for 80 percent of its electricity supply and about two-thirds of total energy.
The country has quickly become a world leader in solar and wind energy and aims to produce 20 percent of its electricity through non-fossil fuel sources, including nuclear, by 2030, double the current share.