Carbon dioxide emissions in China have fallen for the first time since last year’s lockdown, the latest signal the property sector downturn and energy shortages have hit industrial demand in the world’s second-biggest economy.

Emissions declined by about 0.5 percent in the three months to the end of September, according to data published by Carbon Brief, climate research, and news service.

“The reasons [for the decline] are the clampdown on runaway real estate lending, resulting in a sharp reduction in steel and cement output, and the sky-high coal prices,” said Lauri Myllyvirta, an analyst at the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air, an independent research group based in Helsinki.

However, Myllyvirta also believes the latest drop in emissions in the world’s largest polluter “could mark a turning point and an early peak in China’s emissions” — years before Beijing’s target of 2030.

The third-quarter emissions decline this year follows the sharpest increases in a decade as Chinese factories, construction and heavy industry roared back to life last year, riding a wave of pandemic stimulus spending.