Environmental Law Australia

ENVM7124 web page

International Regulatory Frameworks for Climate Change and Environmental Management (ENVM7124)

This page provides resources for a course taught by Dr Chris McGrath at the University of Queensland from 2010-2019 and being taught in Summer Semester 2022.

The course examines the major international environmental treaties since 1945 set within their political and historic context.

The topics covered include the treaties addressing whaling, international trade, Antarctica, World Heritage, Ramsar wetlands, marine pollution, law of the sea, international fisheries, ozone depletion, biodiversity conservation, and climate change.

The major assessment item was/is a research paper to develop skills in evaluating and improving the effectiveness of the implementation of environmental policy.

Teaching pedagogy (approach)

The teaching pedagogy in this course is described in Chris McGrath, “Teaching international law as a story”, published as chapter 11 in the IUCN Academy of Environmental Law’s book, Teaching and Learning in Environmental Law: Pedagogy, Methodology and Best Practice (Edward Elgar, 2021), edited by Amanda Kennedy, Anél du Plessis, Rob Fowler, Evan Hamman, and Ceri Warnock.

The teaching pedagogy conceptualised teaching & learning in a complex course like this one as something like a game of chess where multiple teaching strategies and methods are used in combination to engage students and help them learn. The main components used within this approach are:

  • 12 lectures telling the story of the major international treaties since 1945 set within their historic and political context;
  • assessment designed to engage students and help build their knowledge and critical analysis skills:
    • a research paper to develop skills in evaluating and improving the effectiveness of environmental policy (50%);
    • presentation of a research proposal early in the course on the research topic chosen by each student (5%); &
    • an exam at the end of the course (45%) (in 2022 this has been split into two online exams, similar to Parts A & B and Parts C & D respectively of the 2019 exam).
  • 2 workshops providing scaffolding for the research paper on:
    • research design; &
    • making good policy recommendations.
  • a field trip to a World Heritage property at Springbrook south of Brisbane; &
  • 2 tutorials to help students prepare for the end-of-semester exams.

The assessment philosophy for the course is available here.

Recordings of lectures

The course contained/contains 12 lectures. The following are recordings of lectures delivered in 2019:

Lecture 1 – Introduction to course
Lecture 2 – UN Charter 1945 & International Whaling Convention 1946
Lecture handouts:
Lecture 3 – GATT 1947 & Antarctic Treaty 1959
Lecture 4 – Ramsar Convention 1971, World Heritage Convention 1972 & CITES 1973
Lecture 5 – MARPOL 73/78
Lecture 5 – United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982
Lecture 7 – Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer 1985
Lecture 8 – Biodiversity Convention 1992
Lecture 9 – United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 1992
Lecture 10 – Kyoto Protocol 1997
Lecture 11 – UN Sustainable Development Goals 2015 & Paris Agreement 2015
Lecture 12 – Course review & the future

Feedback on previous courses

“Great course. The presenter had a great understanding of the content and was clearly passionate about the content which made the course more interesting. It was very well structured which made the content easier to learn.” (2014 external student in ENVM7124)

You can read the full postgraduate (ENVM7124) student evaluations of the 2014 course here: