Harnessing the transformative potential of climate governance

23 January 2023
The Sydney Environment Institute is pleased to announce environmental law and governance expert Dr Kate Owens as the keynote speaker for this year’s Iain McCalman Lecture.

Dr Kate Owens is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Sydney Law School and Director of the Australian Centre for Climate and Environmental Law. Dr Owens was one of SEI’s 2022 Collaborative Fellows, working with Professor Susan Park on the project Powering a Pacific led renewable energy transformation, and is a key researcher on the Unsettling resources research cluster.   

Dr Owens’ research combines both social and legal methods to address significant issues of environmental law and governance. Before joining the University of Sydney in 2015, Kate practised for many years in State Government and leading commercial firms in Australia and New Zealand, specialising in environmental and planning law.

In her keynote presentation, Dr Owens will explore how Australia can successfully transition and adapt its interconnected social and technological systems as the climate crisis intensifies.

What forms of law and governance will we need within the next five years to enable this ‘whole-of-nation’ effort? How can we move from soundbites to actual implementation?
Dr Kate Owens

Governments will need to overcome vested interests and ensure an inclusive and just transition across complex, dynamic and interconnected socio-technical systems. Yet, examples of governance frameworks that can produce this level of deep coordination, change and equity are rare. It is also essential that such transformative governance frameworks inform Australia’s role in supporting developing nations tackle the wicked, complex issues inherent in climate change.

Drawing on examples from the renewable energy and rural water sector, she will explore the wide potential of future climate governance and how we can move forward to enable deep coordination, action and implementation.

SEI is very happy to announce Dr Kate Owens as the 2023 McCalman Lecture speaker. Dr Owens has worked extensively with the Institute on the legal and governance aspects of the necessary energy transition. She is an expert on the inherent complexities of transforming our legal, social and technological systems – and the changes necessary for the realisation of change. Her work is a crucial contribution to the multidisciplinary challenges at the centre of our mission and impact at SEI.
SEI Director David Schlosberg

The Iain McCalman Lecture celebrates SEI co-founder and former co-director Iain McCalman’s dedication to fostering and pioneering multidisciplinary environmental research. The event aims to highlight the work of early to mid-career researchers and practitioners working across disciplinary boundaries to impact both scholarship and public discourse.

The 2023 Iain McCalman lecture will be held on Monday 20 March 2023 at The University of Sydney. Read more and register for the event.

Header image: Solar power plant by Zbynek Burival via Unsplash.

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