In a potentially significant shift, Chinese production and consumption of coal to generate electricity in 2014 fell 3 percent, according to the Chinese government.
It was the first decline in 14 years. For years China has mounted a long-term campaign to bolster electricity supplies predominantly through rapid expansion of coal-fired electric generation.
The important turn was chronicled this week in a Wall Street Journal report, "Falling Chinese Coal Consumption and Output Undermine Global Market."
Gas emissions created by burning coal is believed to be a significant cause of climate change. For years, China along with India have resisted efforts to curb their expansion of their coal-fired generation capacity. China recently has taken a more conciliatory stance in climate talks.
"The decrease puts China at or near an inflection point known as 'peak coal,' at which a long-term decline in consumption of the mineral begins after decades of heavy use," the Journal reported.