Yes this may have indeed happened. China is using less coal and more natural gas and oil plus they added a small amount of renewable energy and they did lower their carbon emissions in 2015 versus 2014.
China has also lowered the price of natural gas to force consumers to switch from coal. On top of this China’s industrial production is not growing rapidly and may have actually declined in 2015. What this means is iron ore, coal, oil, LNG, copper, nickel, lead, zinc, and other commodities will continue to tank and countries like Australia, South Africa, Chile, Saudi Arabia and Brazil will hurt economically as they are the quarries for China.
My prediction for 2016 is that global CO2 emissions will again drop by approximately 1% versus 2015. The US may actually join the crowd and lower CO2 emissions by heating homes less this winter thanks to the El Nino. The El Nino will also increase hydroelectric power generation in the west. Natural gas will remain the fuel of choice for power generation and coal is a goner. 2015 saw a decline of 10% in US coal production and 2016 will likely see another 5% decline.
The best thing about 2016 though is that we will vote for a new president. Sadly number 44 was a thermodynamic neophyte of the poultry variety. Number 45 will not be an Einstein either, but he or she may just surround themselves with as secretary of energy that is not Alfred E Neuman and with someone who actually knows that Ivanpah is Solyndra times three. Happy New Year to all.