China’s domination of energy markets — long the driver of soaring fossil-fuel consumption and rising carbon pollution — is now turning the planet in a cleaner direction.
The biggest energy consumer is moving toward the end of an era after it burned the least coal in six years, became the number one producer of renewable energy and even lowered its emissions of climate-warming gases, according to data from BP Plc.
“China matters in a big way to the energy market,” said Giovanni Staunovo, an analyst at UBS Group AG. “There is an aim to move away from coal consumption towards cleaner energy sources.”
China developed a voracious appetite for energy since the turn of the century as its expanding economy burned up huge amounts of fossil fuels to keep factories humming and cars rolling. In the process it helped drive up prices of oil, natural gas and coal, while also becoming the biggest emitter …