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Ruth Morgan

Australian National University

Based in


Dr. Ruth Morgan is the Director of the Centre for Environmental History and Associate Professor in the School of History at the Australian National University in Canberra. She is an environmental historian and historian of science with a particular focus on Australia, the British Empire, and the Indian Ocean world. Her research focuses on the changing relationships between people and their environments, with a particular interest in water resources and climate variability.

Morgan has published two scholarly monographs, Running Out? Water in Western Australia (UWAP, 2015) and Climate Change and International History: Negotiating Science, Global Change and Environmental Justice (Bloomsbury, 2024), and co-authored Cities in a Sunburnt Country: Water and the Making of Urban Australia (CUP, 2022).

She has also co-edited 7 special journal issues, and I am the co-editor of the open-access journal International Review of Environmental History. She was a Lead Author (Working Group 2) on the recent Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Morgan’s research has been generously supported by the Australian Research Council, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society, and the British Academy. She is also a member of the executive committees of the American Society of Environmental History, and the International Consortium of Environmental History Organizations.

Country(ies) of Specialty

Australia New Zealand

Focus areas of expertise

Climate policy and politics History Climate Justice Scientific assessments

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Selected Publications

Caretta, Martina, Aditi Mukherji, Ruth A. Morgan, et al. “Water”, in Climate Change 2022: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. Contribution of Working Group II to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, H.-O. Pörtner, D.C. Roberts, M. Tignor, et al. (eds), Cambridge University Press, 2022, pp. 551–712.

Cook, Margaret, Lionel Frost, Ruth A. Morgan, et al., Cities in a Sunburnt Country: Water and the Making of Urban Australia. Cambridge University Press, 2022.

Holmes, Katie, Andrea Gaynor, and Ruth A. Morgan, “Doing environmental history in urgent times,” History Australia, vol. 17, no. 2, 2020, pp. 230-51.

Morgan, Ruth A. “The allure of climate and water independence: desalination projects in Perth and San Diego,” Journal of Urban History, vol. 46, no. 1, 2020, pp. 113-28.

Morgan, Ruth A. Climate Change and International History: Negotiating Science, Global Change and Environmental Justice. Bloomsbury, 2024.

Morgan, Ruth A. “Climate, Weather, and Water in History,” Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change, vol. 10, no. 1, 2019, e561.

Morgan, Ruth A. “Diagnosing the dry: historical case notes from southwest Western Australia, 1945-2007,” Osiris, vol. 26, 2011, pp. 89-108.

Morgan, Ruth A. “Dry continent dreaming: Australian schemes to use Antarctic icebergs for water supplies,” International Review of Environmental History, vol. 3, no. 2, 2018, pp. 145-66.

Morgan, Ruth A. “Dry horizons: exploring the responses of Western Australian water managers to the enhanced greenhouse effect in the late 1980s,” History Australia, vol. 8, no. 3, 2011, pp. 158-76.

Morgan, Ruth A. “Histories for an uncertain future: environmental history and climate change,” Australian Historical Studies, vol. 44, no. 3, 2013, pp. 350-60.

Morgan, Ruth A. “Imagining a greenhouse future: scientific and literary depictions of climate change in 1980s Australia,” Australian Humanities Review no. 57, 2014, pp. 43-60.

Morgan, Ruth A. “Looking for the Leeuwin: An Environmental History of the Leeuwin Current,” in Samuel Randalls and Martin Mahony (eds), Weather, Climate and the Geographical Imagination, University of Pittsburgh Press, 2020, pp. 93-112.

Morgan, Ruth A. “The Pacific Anthropocene”, in Edward D. Melillo, Ryan Tucker Jones & James Beattie (eds), Migrant Ecologies: Environmental Histories of the Pacific World, University of Hawai’i Press, 2022.

Morgan, Ruth A. and Cristián Simonetti, “Planetary boundaries and the Anthropocene,” in Mark Carey, Emily O’Gorman, William San Martin and Sandra Swart (eds), Routledge Handbook for Environmental History, Routledge, 2024.

Morgan, Ruth A. Running Out? Water in Western Australia. University of Western Australia Publishing, 2015.

Morgan, Ruth A. “Southern Skies: Australian atmospheric research and global climate change,” Disaster Prevention and Management, vol. 30, no. 1, 2021, pp. 47-63.

Morgan, Ruth A. ‘What is “Net Zero” anyway? A short history of a monumental concept’, The Conversation, May 22, 2024.