On November 25, 2009, the State Council announced China’s goal of reducing carbon emissions on its country unit GDP by 40-50% by 2020, compared to 2005 levels, as well as its integration into the national economic and social long-term development plan. On August 10, 2010, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) issued a document on Carrying Out the Pilot of Low-Carbon Provinces and Cities, highlighting Guangdong as one of China’s main low-carbon pilot provinces. By virtue of its inclusion in this national initiative, Guangdong province plays – and is projected to keep playing – a leading role in the low-carbon field, actively exploring mechanisms for low-carbon technology developments and striving to promote carbon emissions trading pilot processes.
Guangdong province is at the forefront of China's social and economic development. In accommodating swift industrialisation and urbanisation, the province’s problem of resource consumption and environmental pollution remains a serious one, while the continued critical growth in carbon emissions cannot be ignored. In 2012, Guangdong’s CO2 emissions from energy consumption reached 557 million tons, of which the province purchased power conversion and net CO2 emissions were 502 and 52 million tons respectively. From 2005 to 2012, Guangdong’s energy-related carbon emissions grew at an annual average rate of 6.5%, with the province purchased power and net CO2 emissions growing at annual average rates of 6.3% and 9.1% resp. Based on these figures, the extent of future carbon emissions in Guangdong remains considerable, and so does the potential for emission reductions.
On November 30, 2015, President Xi Jinping, in his speech at the Opening Ceremony of the Paris Conference on Climate Change (COP 21), admitted that China pledges to peak its CO2 emissions by 2030 and is striving to achieve this target as soon as possible. He also envisaged that, by 2030, CO2 emissions per unit of GDP would be reduced by 60-65% compared to 2005 levels, with the share of non-fossil fuels rising to about 20% of total primary energy consumption above 2005 levels.
On March 31, 2016, President Xi Jinping met with President Obama in the United States, and agreed that the Paris Agreement would be signed on April 22nd. Both presidents further committed to work together with other parties to promote the full implementation of the Agreement and overcome threats imposed by climate change.