Meg McDonald is a non-resident fellow at the United States Studies Centre. McDonald has more than 30 years of experience in the public and private sectors in Australia and internationally. She served as a senior Australian diplomat in Geneva as Deputy Chief of Mission, the Australian Embassy in Washington DC and as Australia’s Ambassador for the Environment.
McDonald has worked at the forefront of decarbonising the economy, in renewable energy and addressing climate change — as Chief Operating Officer of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (2013-15), CEO of Low Carbon Australia Limited (2010-13), on the Board of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (2016-20) and of the Co-operative Research Centre for Low Carbon Living (2016-20), as well as a Trustee of The Nature Conservancy. She serves as a member of the NSW Chief Scientist & Engineer’s Expert Panel advising the NSW Government on innovative decarbonisation technologies to support the achievement of the NSW Net Zero Plan.
In 2019, she was appointed by the Australian Government as a member of the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB).
McDonald has had senior executive business roles with Alcoa (Director, Global Issues, Alcoa, and President, Alcoa Foundation in New York and General Manager, Corporate Affairs, Alcoa Australia).
From 1995-96, she served as Assistant Secretary, Environment and Antarctic Branch, DFAT, responsible for Australia’s international environment treaty negotiations, and the Antarctic treaties. She has also served as senior Adviser to three Australian Government Cabinet ministers.
In 2014, McDonald was named as an AFR/Westpac 100 Women of Influence. In 2019 she served as a judge for the US-based MacArthur Foundation #100andchange program, for $100 million grants for real and measurable progress in solving critical problems of our time.
McDonald holds an Honours Degree in Applied Science from the University of NSW.