China’s coal consumption and production fell last year for the first time in 14 years as a slowing economy and cleaner energy policies help Beijing wean the world’s largest energy consumer off coal dependence. Data released by the government Thursday show China is using more crude oil and natural gas. Coal output last year fell 2.5% to 3.87 billion metric tons compared with a year before, while coal consumption fell 2.9% in the period, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. The decrease puts China at or nearer an inflection point known as “peak coal”—the long-term decline in consumption of the mineral after decades of heavy use. The shift is already having knock-on effects with coal prices world-wide falling to six-year lows and many Chinese […]