Dr Jeff McGee is focused on strategies that can help us respond to climate change. He is an expert in global environmental law and governance. Dr McGee analyses the strategies and structures of global and regional institutions that seek to solve problems like climate change and the international laws that affect them. He provides critical analysis and commentary on the development and policy of institutions such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), and the legal frameworks that bind them. Dr McGee also suggests new laws and institutions that should be formed to more effectively tackle climate change and the solutions that are needed for us to adapt.
Facing the Anthropocene directly: the international laws and institutions that will help us face climate change in the Age of Man.
It was the Enlightenment, the age of reason, which gave humanity the idea of conquering the natural world. Our progress has been rapid. But, have we really conquered the natural world? Nobody would have believed the great furnaces that burst to life in Northern England and spawned the industrial revolution, would eventually alter the natural cycles of the earth.
The modern age began in the Holocene, a climatically stable geological era that lasted for around 10,000 years. However, many scientists believe we have now entered a new geological era, the Anthropocene: The Age of Man. In just a few centuries, humanity, in its quest to conquer nature, has pushed the planet into a new geological époque. We have destabilized the earth system from its familiar state. Humanity is changing the planet. We need to shape our future.
Our planet is heating up. Sea levels are rising and the process will accelerate. The ice caps are melting. Extreme weather conditions, including droughts and storms, will become more frequent. Disasters will happen. What strategies do we have in place to protect us in the Age of Man? How do we design the most effective international laws and institutions to help humanity respond to climate change?
'This idea that we've entered a new geological age where humans are a key driver of change on the planet is in many ways very confronting,' said Dr McGee. 'The repercussions will vary but all sorts of changes will present, some of them could prove catastrophic. Humanity needs to prepare for and face the Anthropocene directly'.
'I want to help solve the problems associated with this new and potentially precarious era we have just entered,' said Dr McGee. 'We need new laws and institutions to meet this unprecedented challenge that humanity faces. Law, like other social institutions, must learn to respond to the new reality of the stresses that we are placing upon the earth system. 'He is especially interested in institutions in the Asia-Pacific region and how they interact with larger ones like the UNFCCC. Dr McGee's expertise drives policy and law reform by informing public debate.
Dr Jeff McGee is the Senior Lecturer in Climate Change, Marine and Antarctic Law at the University of Tasmania. As an international lawyer with dual areas of expertise, he divides his time between the Faculty of Law and the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies. Dr McGee's research is focused on providing strategies through international law and institutions by which humanity can better respond to climate change in the Anthropocene. Merging scientific knowledge with public understanding and innovative and effective policy design regarding climate change and its consequences is his key objective. He completed his PhD in Environment and Geography at Macquarie University and has a Master of Environmental Studies. He was a partner in a successful legal practice in NSW and a senior legal advisor to the Federal Government for ten years prior to commencing his academic career. His work is widely published in leading international journals in the fields of international environmental law, global environmental governance and climate change policy.
|Degree||Title of Thesis||University||Country||Awarded|
|GCPTT||University of Newcastle||Australia||2013|
|MEnvStud||University of Newcastle||Australia||2007|
|GDLP||University of Technology, Sydney||Australia||1992|
|BA/LLB||Australia National University||Australia||1992|
Before joining the University of Tasmania in January 2015, Jeff was a Research Director, Program Convenor and Senior Lecturer and at the Newcastle Law School. Prior to entering academic life in 2008, he gained extensive practical experience as a lawyer through working as a senior legal adviser to the Department of Defence and over a decade of private practice as a partner in a leading insurance litigation law firm in New South Wales.
Describe the broad, over-arching research interest in a way that generally describes the research activity/projects that you & your group undertake, using the format provided in the example below.
Dr McGee's research directly links to the University of Tasmania research themes of Environment, Resources and Sustainability and Marine, Antarctic and Maritime. He is focused on strategies that can help us respond to climate change. As an expert in global environmental law and governance, Dr McGee analyses the strategies and structures of global and regional institutions that seek to solve problems like climate change and the international laws that affect them. He provides critical analysis and commentary on the development and policy of institutions such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), and the legal frameworks that bind them. Dr McGee also suggests new laws and institutions that should be formed to more effectively tackle climate change and the solutions that are needed for us to adapt.
The key research themes for Dr McGee are built around the following questions:
- What type of laws and institutions are best suited to building resilience in the new geological era of the Anthropocene where humans are a key driver of global environmental change?
- How are markets and market values shaping the law and institutions which is designed to respond to climate change?
- What role might insurance and other risk pooling mechanisms play in building adaptive capacity and resilience to climate change impacts?
- What are the key governance challenges for Oceans and Antarctic the context of climate change and other human induced challenges to the earth system?
- What law and governance is required to respond to proposals for human geoengineering of the global climate to offset anthropogenic climate change?
Solicitor of the High Court of Australia and Supreme Court of NSW
- Assistant Dean Teaching and Learning, Law Faculty, University of Tasmania, 2015
- Director of Research, Newcastle Law School, 2013-2014
- Program Director, Master of Laws Program, Newcastle Law School, 2013
- Partner, Rankin and Nathan Lawyers, 1998-2002
Climate Change Law, Environmental Law, Legal Theory, Antarctic Law, International marine Management.
Dr McGee coordinates and teaches the Legal Theory course in the Utas Law Faculty. Dr McGee also teaches into the Climate Change Law and Policy course at the Utas Law Faculty.
At the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, Dr McGee teaches into courses on International Marine Management and Marine and Antarctic Environments.
Whilst at the University of Newcastle, Dr McGee received the following teaching awards:
- 2009: Excellence in Teaching Award for Law Teaching, Faculty of Business and Law, University of Newcastle: $3500 for innovative interdisciplinary teaching to law students in Environmental Law
- 2007: Vice Chancellors Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning at the University of Newcastle: $1500 for outstanding contribution to improved student learning in environmental governance through adoption of an innovative, student-centred approach to course design and delivery in discipline of Environment and Geography, School of Environmental and Life Sciences
- 2007: Newcastle University Postgraduate Students Association, Teacher of the Year Award.
From 2011-2015 Jeff has been a Research Fellow of the Earth System Governance Network, based at the University of Lund (Sweden), a leading international network of scholars working on environmental governance. He has been a regular contributor to international conferences of the Earth System Governance Network and also the environmental studies section of the US-based International Studies Association.
In 2013, he was selected by editors from Lund University, Sweden, as one of only two Australian-based authors to the upcoming Edward Elgar Research Handbook on Climate Governance
In 2015, he was invited as a Senior Scholar to participate in UNSW Faculty of Law invites applications from scholars in law and social sciences in Australia to participate in an early career workshop In September 2015 on the broad theme of 'RethinkingLaw, Economy and Environment'.
- Climate change law and governance
- International environmental law
- Insurance and climate change impacts
- Law and institutions for the Anthropocene
- Antarctic law and policy
- Marine law and policy
Australian Postgraduate Award PhD Scholarship, Macquarie University, 2006-2007
Research Fellowship, Centre for Institutional and Organisational Studies, Faculty of Business and Law, University of Newcastle, Australia, July-November 2012
Visiting Fellowship, School of Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of New South Wales, January-June 2012
Jeff's work on international climate change law and policy has been cited in reports of the United Nations Environment Program and Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. In 2014, his work was widely cited in Working Group III report of the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Four of his journal articles were cited seven times (in total) across the chapters on international cooperation and regional cooperation of the Working Group III report.
2012-2013: Research collaboration in global climate change policy with Assistant Professor Sylvia Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen from Wageningen University in the Netherlands. This resulted in presenting a semi-plenary paper at a leading international conference on environmental governance, the 2013 Earth System Governance Conference in Tokyo, Japan which was attended by leading figures, including the Japanese Royal Family. This resulted in a co-authored journal article in the following leading international journal: Sylvia Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen and Jeffrey McGee, 2013, 'Legitimacy in an Era of Fragmentation: The Case of Global Climate Governance', Global Environmental Politics, 13(3), 56.2014: Research collaboration with Dr Brendon Murphy, University of Sunshine Coast, School of Law leading to publication of A* journal article as follows: Brendon Murphy and Jeffrey McGee, 2015, 'Phronetic Legal Research', Griffith Law Review, 24(2), 1-28.
- Environmental and Natural Resources Law (180111)
- International Law (excl. International Trade Law) (180116)
- Environmental Politics (160605)
- Climate Change Mitigation Strategies (960302)
- Climate Change Adaptation Measures (960301)
- Environmental Education and Awareness (960703)
Jeff 's publications have included the following topics:
- Intersection of Regional and Global Institutions for Climate Change Governance
- Antarctic Governance and the challenges of climate change
- International Legal Regulation of Geoengineering Responses to Climate Change
- Cooperative Economic Governance for Sustainability
- Sustainability, Critical Thinking and the Public Value of Legal Education
- Phronetic Legal Research Design
He has published in the leading journals in international environmental law and policy including; Review of European, Comparative and International Environmental Law, Global Environmental Politics, International Environmental Agreements, Colorado Journal of International Environmental Law and Policy and Melbourne Journal of International Law. His research articles have been well cited in academic literature and also in reports by the United Nations Environment Program, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice and the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
His work on international climate change law and policy has been cited in reports of the United Nations Environment Program and Secretariat of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. In April 2014, his work was widely cited in Working Group III report of the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Four of his journal articles were cited seven times (in total) across the chapters on international cooperation and regional cooperation of the Working Group III report.
Journal Article(18 outputs)
|2016||Brent K, McGee JS, Maguire A, 'Solar Radiation Management Geoengineering and Liability for Damage to the Global Atmospheric Commons', Climate Law ISSN 1878-6561 (In Press) [Refereed Article]|
|2016||McGee J, Steffek J, 'The Copenhagen turn in Global Climate Governance and the Contentious History of Differentiation in International Law', Journal of Environmental Law, 28, (1) ISSN 1464-374X (In Press) [Refereed Article]|
|2015||Brent K, McGee J, McDonald J, 'The Governance of Geoengineering: An Emerging Challenge for International and Domestic Legal Systems?', Journal of Law, Information and Science, 24, (1) pp. EAP 1-33. ISSN 0729-1485 (2015) [Refereed Article]|
Co-authors: Brent K; McDonald J
|2015||Brent KA, McGee J, Maguire A, 'Does the 'No-Harm'Rule' Have a Role in Preventing Transboundary Harm and Harm to the Global Atmospheric Commons from Geoengineering?', Climate Law, 5, (1) pp. 35-63. ISSN 1878-6553 (2015) [Refereed Article]|
Citations: Scopus - 1
Co-authors: Brent KA
|2015||Murphy B, McGee J, 'Phronetic Legal Research', Griffith Law Review, 24, (2) pp. 288-313. ISSN 1038-3441 (2015) [Refereed Article]|
|2014||McGee JS, Phelan L, Wenta J, 'Writing the Fine Print: A Regional Insurance Scheme for Climate Change Adaptation in the Pacific', Melbourne Journal of International Law, 15, (2) pp. 444-472. ISSN 1444-8602 (2014) [Refereed Article]|
|2014||McGee JS, Taplin R, 'The Asia-Pacic partnership and market-liberal discourse in global climate governance', International Journal of Law in Context, 10, (3) pp. 338-356. ISSN 1744-5523 (2014) [Refereed Article]|
Citations: Scopus - 1
|2014||McGee JS, Wenta J, 'Technology Transfer Institutions in Global Climate Governance: The Tension between Equity Principles and Market Allocation', Review of European, Comparative & International Environmental Law, 23, (3) pp. 367-381. ISSN 2050-0386 (2014) [Refereed Article]|
Citations: Scopus - 1
|2013||Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen S, McGee JS, 'Legitimacy in an Era of Fragmentation: The Case of Global Climate Governance', Global Environmental Politics, 13, (3) pp. 56. ISSN 1526-3800 (2013) [Refereed Article]|
Citations: Scopus - 13Web of Science - 13
|2013||McGee JS, Guihot M, Connor T, 'Rediscovering Law Students as Citizens: Critical Thinking and the Public Value of Legal Education', Alternative Law Journal, 38, (2) pp. 77. ISSN 1037-969X (2013) [Refereed Article]|
|2012||Brent K, McGee JS, 'The Regulation of Geoengineering: A Gathering Storm for International Climate Change Policy?', Air Quality and Climate Change, 46, (4) pp. 22-27. ISSN 1836-5876 (2012) [Non Refereed Article]|
|2012||Phelan L, McGee JS, Gordon r, 'Cooperative Governance: One Pathway to a Stable-State Economy', Environmental Politics, 21, (3) pp. 412-431. ISSN 0964-4016 (2012) [Refereed Article]|
Citations: Scopus - 2Web of Science - 2
|2011||McGee JS, 'Exclusive Minilateralism: An Emerging Discourse within International Climate Change Governance?', Portal: journal of multidisciplinary international studies, 8, (3) pp. 1-9. ISSN 1449-2490 (2011) [Refereed Article]|
|2010||McGee JS, Taplin R, 'The Asia-Pacific Partnership: Implementation Challenges and Interplay with Kyoto', Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change, 1, (1) pp. 16-22. ISSN 1757-7799 (2010) [Refereed Article]|
Citations: Scopus - 6
|2009||McGee JS, Taplin R, 'The Asia Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate: A Retreat from the Principle of Common but Differentiated Responsibilities?', McGill International Journal of Sustainable Development Law and Policy, 5, (1) pp. 11-43. ISSN 1712-9664 (2009) [Refereed Article]|
|2009||McGee JS, Taplin R, 'The Role of the Asia-Pacific Partnership in Discursive Contestation of the International Climate Regime', International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, 9, (3) pp. 213-238. ISSN 1567-9764 (2009) [Refereed Article]|
Citations: Scopus - 23Web of Science - 18
|2008||McGee JS, Taplin R, 'The Asia-Pacific Partnership and United States International Climate Change Policy', Colorado Natural Resources, Energy & Environmental Law Review, 19, (2) pp. 179-218. ISSN 1050-0391 (2008) [Non Refereed Article]|
|2007||Taplin N, McGee JS, 'The Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate; A Complement or Competitor to the Kyoto Protocol?', Global Change, Peace & Security, 18, (3) pp. 173-192. ISSN 1478-1158 (2007) [Refereed Article]|
Chapter in Book(3 outputs)
|2015||McGee JS, 'Minilateralism', Research Handbook on Climate Governance, Edward Elgar, Backstrand K and Lovbrand E (ed), United Kingdom, pp. 132-141. ISBN 9781783470594 (2015) [Research Book Chapter]|
|2014||McGee JS, 'The influence of US Neoliberalism on International Climate Change Policy', Climate Innovation Liberal Capitalism and Climate Change, Palgrave Macmillan, Harrison, NE and Mikler J (ed), United Kingdom, pp. 193-214. ISBN 9781137319876 (2014) [Research Book Chapter]|
|2012||McGee JS, Taplin R, 'The Asia-Pacific Partnership: A Deepened Market Liberal Model for the International Climate Regime?', Environmental Discourses in Public and International Law, Cambridge University Press, Brad Jessup and Kim Rubenstein (ed), United Kingdom, pp. 308-330. ISBN 9781107019423 (2012) [Research Book Chapter]|
|2014||McGee JS, 'United States Engagement with International Law: More Power than Principle? Review of Shirley Scott', Australian Yearbook of International Law, 31, (1) pp. 1. (2014) [Review Single Work]|
|2014||McGee JS, Brent K, 'Review of On Environmental Governance; Sustainability, Efficiency and Equity' by Oran R. Young', Review of European Comparative and International Environmental Law, 23, (3) pp. 382-384. ISSN 2050-0386 (2014) [Review Single Work]|
Conference Publication(18 outputs)
|2016||Wenta J, McGee JS, Phelan L, 'A bridge over troubled waters? Can a regional insurance mechanism play a viable role in enhancing resilience to slow onset climate change impacts?', Global IR and Regional Worlds - A New Agenda for International Studies, 18-21 February 2015, New Orleans, USE, pp. 1. (2016) [Non Refereed Conference Paper]|
|2015||Wenta J, McGee JS, Phelan L, 'A Bridge Over Troubled Waters? Can a Regional Insurance Mechanism play a Viable Role in Enhancing Resilience to Slow Onset Climate Change Impacts?', Frontiers of Environmental Law Colloquium, 10-11 February 2015, University of Tasmania, pp. 1. (2015) [Conference Extract]|
|2014||Brent K, McGee JS, Phelan L, 'The potential of the no-harm' rule to prevent transboundary harm and harm to the global atmospheric commons from SRM geoengineering', Global IR and Regional Worlds - A New Agenda for International Studies, 18-21 February 2015, New Orleans, USA, pp. 1. (2014) [Non Refereed Conference Paper]|
|2014||Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen S, McGee JS, 'Strengthening International Community: The Missing Link in the Effectiveness of International Environmental Regimes?', 2014 Norwich Conference on Earth System Governance: Access and Allocation in the Anthropocene, 1-3 July 2015, University of East Anglia, UK, pp. 1. (2014) [Plenary Presentation]|
|2013||Brent K, McGee JS, 'SRM Geoengineering and Liability for Damage to the Global Atmospheric Commons', Australian and New Zealand Society of International Law Annual Conference, 4-6 July 2013, Australian National University, Canberra, pp. 1. (2013) [Conference Extract]|
|2013||Karlsson-Vinkhuyzen S, McGee JS, 'Power and Legitimacy Dynamics in the Fragmentation of Global Climate Governance' in Semi-Plenary VII The Institutional Fragmentation of Global Environmental Governance', Earth System Governance Tokyo Conference: Complex Architectures: Multiple Agents, 28-31 January 2013, Tokyo, Japan, pp. 1. (2013) [Conference Extract]|
|2013||McGee JS, Phelan L, 'Writing the Fine Print: Climate Risk Insurance for Pacific Island States', IUCN Academy of Environmental Law Annual Colloquium, 24-28 June 2013, University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand, pp. 1. (2013) [Conference Extract]|
|2012||McGee JS, 'Technology Transfer in International Climate Change Governance: From Green Governmentality to Deregulatory Ecological Modernisation and Beyond?', Annual Convention of the International Studies Association, 1-4 April 2012, San Diego, California, United States, pp. 1. (2012) [Non Refereed Conference Paper]|
|2012||Phelan L, McGee JS, 'Writing the fine print: Effective climate risk insurance for Pacific Island States', Workshop on Climate Change Governance in the Asia-Pacific Region: Agency, Accountability and Adaptiveness, 12-16 March 2012, Australian National University, Canberra, pp. 1. (2012) [Non Refereed Conference Paper]|
|2012||Steffek J, McGee JS, 'Climate Governance after Copenhagen: The Rise of Voluntary Pledge Review as the End of Redistributive Multilateralism?', Annual Convention of the International Studies Association, 1-4 April 2012, San Diego, California, United States, pp. 1. (2012) [Non Refereed Conference Paper]|
|2011||Karlsonn-Vinkhuyzen S, McGee JS, 'Contesting the Home for Global Climate Governance: When Power Supersedes Legitimacy in Minilateral Forums', International Workshop on The Fragmentation of Global Environmental Governance: Causes, Consequences and Responses, 29-30 August 2011, German Development Institute, Bonn, pp. 1. (2011) [Conference Extract]|
|2011||Phelan L, McGee JS, Gordon R, 'Cooperative Governance of Economic Enterprises; One Contribution towards Challenging the Growth Imperative?', Governance for Green Growth? Australian National University Climate and Environmental Governance Network Workshop, 25 February 2011, ANU, Canberra, Australia, pp. 1. (2011) [Conference Extract]|
|2010||McGee JS, 'Minilateralism: An Emerging Discourse within International Climate Change Governance?', Berlin Conference on the Human Dimensions of Global Environmental Change, 8-9 October 2010, Free University, Berlin, Germany, pp. 1. (2010) [Non Refereed Conference Paper]|
|2010||McGee JS, 'Exclusive Minilateralism: An Emerging Discourse within International Climate Change Governance', Democratizing Climate Governance Conference, 15-16 July 2010, ANU, Canberra, Australia, pp. 1. (2010) [Conference Extract]|
|2009||McGee JS, 'The Asia-Pacific Partnership: A Deepened Market Liberal Model for the International Climate Regime?', Environmental Discourses in International and Domestic Law, Connecting International and Public Law, 15-16 August 2009, ANU, Canberra, Australia, pp. 1. (2009) [Conference Extract]|
|2009||McGee JS, Taplin R, 'The Turn to Market Liberalism: The Asia-Pacific Partnership and Contestation over the Shape of the Post-2012 Climate Regime', International Studies Association, 50th Annual Convention, 15-18 February 2009, New York, USA, pp. 1. (2009) [Conference Extract]|
|2008||McGee JS, Taplin R, 'Asia-Pacific Ecological Modernisation: An Emerging Governance Strategy for the International Climate Regime?', Berlin Conference on the Human Dimensions of Global Environmental Change, 22-23 February 2008, Free University Berlin, pp. 1. (2008) [Conference Extract]|
|2006||McGee JS, 'Neoliberalism and International Climate Change Policy: Australia, the United States and the Asia Pacific Partnership', Australian Political Studies Association, Annual Conference, 25-27 September 2006, Newcastle, NSW, Australia, pp. 1. (2006) [Conference Extract]|
Other Public Output(1 outputs)
|2015||McDonald J, Gogarty B, McGee J, 'Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Standing) Bill 2015 Submission 60', Senate Standing Committees on Environment and Communications, Australia (2015) [Report]|
Co-authors: McDonald J; Gogarty B
Grants & Funding
Number of grants
- The global ecosystem is at significant risk from human activity, particularly in the global commons areas such as the high seas and atmosphere. The United Nations Environment Program has noted that whilst "frameworks currently address natural resource issues in the global commons thre are fundamental gaps andinconsistencies that require immediate attention". This project will help us understand and bridge the implementation gap (between treaty and parctice) byidentifying the sources of disagreement about scientific obligations that currently gridlocks commons governance.
- University of Tasmania ($6,806)
- Grant-Cross-Disciplinary Incentive
- Administered By
- University of Tasmania
- Research Team
- Gogarty B; McGee JS; Coady DA
Eliezer Sanchez-Lasaballet, 2012-2015 (University of Newcastle), International Models for Codification of Contract Law', (with Professor Ted Wright)
Ms Kerryn Brent, 2013-date: 'The No-Harm Rule in International Law: The Challenges of Solar-Radiation Management Geoengineering' (with Prof Jan McDonald and Dr Peter Lawrence)
I am currently looking for PhD students for research in international environmental law and policy, including the following:
|PhD||The Role of the No-Harm Rule in Governing Solar Radiation Management Geoengineering||2015|
|PhD||Advancing Adaptive Law in the Design and Development of Legal Institutions and Legal Systems in the 21st Century||2015|
|PhD||Beyond the Bases? Applying Contemporary Principles of International Law to Australian Sovereignty in Antarctica||2015|
|PhD||The Nexus of Law, Politics, International Relations and Effective Fisheries Management: How Institutional Interplay can Inform Current Legal Controversies in Regional Tuna Management Organizations||2016|
|PhD||The Antarctic Environment and Climate Change: Governance Intersections and Challenges||2016|
|PhD||Conceptualising Family Violence: The implications of Tasmanian and Victorian legislative responses for effective sentencing practices||2016|