ASEAN Integration Report 2021

Chapter 4 – Greening ASEAN: Pathways and Challenges

By Jukhee Hong | 14 December 2021

Ms Jukhee Hong, the Executive Director of CARI ASEAN Research and Advocacy, contributed Chapter 4 on ‘Greening ASEAN: Pathways and Challenges’ to the ASEAN Integration Report 2021 which was recently launched by IDEAS on 14 December 2021. The report features four (4) highly informative chapters focusing on the key challenges and possible outlook for ASEAN entering 2022.


The COVID-19 pandemic has severely dented ASEAN’s economy. The region is however set to regain its economic growth momentum with the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) entering into force on 1 January 2022 — injecting the much-needed boost for recovery.

Yet climate change threatens to undermine the region’s future growth and potentially exposes the region to disaster vulnerabilities and negative economic impact. Although all ASEAN member states are parties to the Paris Agreement, their climate action commitments are perceived to be less than ambitious and may miss the mark in achieving the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) targets by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2050. In fact, it is projected that ASEAN’s CO2 emissions per capita is projected to rise 140% between 2015 and 2040

The paper looks at data and climate projections for ASEAN at the regional level instead of each member state’s unique national circumstances and discusses existing regional efforts in ASEAN while highlighting the critical gaps that must be addressed to ensure economic and climate resilience in the region