The demand for coal slumped by 1.7 percent globally, but more striking is that the global production of coal fell by a massive 6.2 percent.
"The fortunes of coal appear to have taken a decisive break from the past", writes Spencer Dale, BP's chief economist.
Coal's share as a primary energy source dropped to 28.1 per cent, its lowest level since 2004, BP's annual Statistical Review of World Energy revealed.
In a separate report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Friday, officials noted that U.S. coal consumption in 2016 - 677 million short tons - is the lowest figure since 1984.
Coal usage worldwide grew steadily from 2009 to 2013, driven by rising energy demand in Asia.
This transition from coal coincides with renewables being the fastest growing energy source previous year, now providing a share of just under 4% of primary energy worldwide.
In contrast, the challenges faced by the global coal industry continued, with coal use falling 1.7 per cent on the back of weak demand from the United States and China - a trend experts are increasingly sceptical can be reversed. This puts BP in opposition to President Donald Trump, who on June 1 announced he would withdraw the USA from the agreement. The most important implication of that shift, he said, "is carbon emissions, which saw little or no growth for a third consecutive year".
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In the past three years, carbon emissions have risen at the slowest pace worldwide since the early 1980s, a development bolstered last year by an oil bust, declining coal and rapidly growing renewable energy, BP says.
The annual report found that renewables were the fastest growing energy source in 2016, accounting for nearly a third of the increase, despite having a share of just 4%.
Renewable power generation grew by 14.1 percent a year ago, according to BP, which doesn't include hydropower in this group.
Bob Dudley commented: "While welcome, it is not yet clear how much of this break from the past is structural and will persist".
As mentioned, energy demand also saw weak growth, increasing by only 1% in 2016, part of a longer plateau that saw energy demand grow only 0.9% in 2015 and 1% in 2014 - compared with a 10-year average of 1.8% per year. The world's most populous country and top greenhouse gas emitter contributed more than 40 percent of global renewable energy growth in 2016, which helped it surpass the United States as the largest renewable power producer. "We need to keep up our focus and efforts on reducing carbon emissions".
However, a new report by the major oil producers admitted that the rebalancing of supply and demand had happened at "a slower pace" because the USA was producing more oil on the back of higher prices.