Climate change is an existential threat not only for the APEC region, but for humanity as a whole. The theme chapter discusses how APEC is severely affected by climate change, but also how the region disproportionately contributes to it in terms of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. While APEC economies have made some achievements with respect to their sustainable economic growth targets, the region needs to significantly do more—including setting more ambitious reductions in GHG emissions—to ensure a habitable and affluent Asia-Pacific in the next century.
The next chapter on economic and trade trends shows the rebound of the APEC region’s economy as it learns to live with COVID-19. APEC GDP grew by 8.0 percent in the first half of 2021, while trading activity saw double-digit growth during the same period. The APEC region is expected to grow by 6.0 percent in 2021, before settling at 3.2 percent in the medium-term, with the anticipated winding down of fiscal and monetary support measures. Substantial uncertainty surrounds the growth projections, with the Delta variant and virus mutations posing as the biggest threat to economic recovery. The unequal access to vaccines needs to be addressed to avoid a two-track recovery, with some able to revive economic activity at a faster and more durable pace while other economies continue to grapple with resurgent infections amid tighter fiscal conditions.