The University of Tasmania, with support of its Faculty of Law, the University of Utrecht Ethics Institute, the University of Tasmania's Institute for the Study of Social Change, the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre (ACE CRC) and the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Science (IMAS).

Despite the Paris Agreement, there are real concerns the prevailing neoliberal economic and political model, particularly with the move to more insular, nationalistic, fragile politics, cannot respond effectively to climate change and excludes key considerations such as ethics and justice.

The Conference will focus on a systematic analysis of barriers to action in the context of the process of change; global governance and law; economics and energy structures; the role of science and technology; and what we are learning about human psychology in relation to climate change.

It will look at ethics, climate justice, intergenerational justice, and how abstract notions of climate justice can be translated into concrete policies, governance structures, and laws. Case studies will include ethical issues in the ongoing international climate negotiations and areas of Australian policy-making with international ramifications. (e.g. the divestment debate.) There will be a focus on emerging issues such as technological interventions, human rights, and international and national climate change litigation. 

It will also explore the engagement by artists, writers, filmmakers, and musicians with climate change, activism, and the connection with nature and place.

The Conference will involve more than 60 paper givers and 150-200 participants. There will be a number of public forums and side events.  A free Public Talk on the Thursday evening and a Community Day on the Saturday afternoon will allow the local community to participate in these important discussions. 

We are pleased to have the endorsement of the Earth System Governance Project  and Climarte, as well as the support of local community groups.

Presenters include: Robyn Eckersley, Steve Vanderheiden, Catriona McKinnon, Marcus  Düwell, Sivan Kartha, Nathan Bindoff, Ben Richardson and Jan McDonald. (Full list of presenters under Themes in the SideBar)


Conference Themes

Theme 1

will examine the meaning of climate justice.

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Theme 2

will address barriers to implementing climate justice in multiple fields, with a number of case studies.

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Theme 3

will examine how we should move forward to address these barriers.

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Outputs & objectives

The Conference is part of a project to raise the profile of issues of ethics and justice in relation to climate change and create a network of thinkers and researchers in the area. A Southern Hemispheric connection with a focus on regional as well as global concerns could have a significant impact on the public policy debate, as well as the profile of these issues. It will be a catalyst for links to a broad range of concerned scientists, philosophers, lawyers, economists and strategists to share information and develop collaborations. Dissemination of ideas and dialogue is a key goal, along with publication of papers online and in journal or book form. 



Tasmania is the ideal location for this conference, with its long history of conservation expertise and environmentalism, the largest concentration of climate scientists and Antarctic researchers in the Southern Hemisphere, and a particularly vibrant and engaged arts community. In 2016, the first recording of 400ppm at Cape Grim demonstrated the urgency of the climate challenge, but the implications are not understood outside the scientific community. Nearly one third of Tasmania is world heritage area protected under a global convention that explicitly embodies notions of intergenerational justice. Hobart is the perfect city to bring people together to discuss this important subject with its beautiful setting, great venues and food, as well as easy access to national parks, walks, and MONA. The Conference will acknowledge the traditional owners and custodians of the land and the contemporary Tasmanian Aboriginal community.


The Conference will follow a sustainable, no or low carbon model, to be reflected in catering, printing and other aspects of Conference Management. Participants flying to Hobart are asked use a reputable carbon offset provider.