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However, the authors of the study cautioned it's unclear whether the slowdown, mainly caused by declining coal use in China, is a permanent trend or a temporary blip."It is far too early to proclaim we have reached a peak," said co-author Glen Peters, a senior researcher at the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research in Oslo.

China pledged to peak emissions by 2030. China, which accounts for almost 30 per cent of global carbon emissions, pledged to peak its emissions around 2030 as part of the global climate pact adopted in Paris last year. Many analysts say China's peak is likely to come much earlier — and may already have occurred.

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