China’s carbon emissions fell almost 8 percent in the April-to-June quarter compared with the same period last year, the sharpest decline in the past decade, according to climate research service Carbon Brief.

The fall in emissions reflects a dramatic slowing in Chinese economic growth caused by large-scale coronavirus lockdowns and a crisis in the heavily indebted property sector. It was the fourth consecutive quarter in which emissions have fallen in China, the world’s biggest emitter.

Lauri Myllyvirta, an analyst at the Helsinki-based Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air, which compiled the data for Carbon Brief, said there had been a drop of 44 percent in the number of construction projects started and a 33 percent fall in those completed during the second quarter.

“The [emissions] reduction was driven by falls in steel and cement output due to the real estate slump, [a] fall in transport oil consumption caused by Covid-

19 control measures, slow electricity consumption growth and strong increases in renewable power generation,” Myllyvirta said.

Steel is heavily used in construction and the steel sector is China’s second largest carbon-emitting industry, after power generation.

The most recent fall of a similar magnitude was in the first three months of

2020, when emissions declined 7 percent as Covid lockdowns disrupted the Chinese economy during the first stage of the pandemic.