Old train at station

Why we need to think about inequality and climate change

This panel will bring together speakers who make the case for the necessity of seeing climate change and inequality as entwined challenges.

Climate change has the potential to significantly accelerate inequality. Low income and precariously employed Australians tend to live and work in areas more susceptible to temperature extremes, and in buildings less able to withstand them. They are less able to afford the cost of energy required for airconditioning, have less access to public green space, shaded recreation areas, pools and schools with facilities for learning in extreme weather.

At the same time, rising inequality in Australia is making it harder to tackle climate change. Elites in highly unequal societies pollute more, waste more water, emit more carbon dioxide, and produce and consume more products that are designed not to last. Highly unequal societies are less democratically responsive, and are more likely to accept climate change ‘solutions’ that are premised on the privatisation of ‘liveable space’. 

This event is part two of the Living in a Warming World series convened by Dr Frances Flanagan.

This event was held at the University of Sydney on Monday 4 June 2018.


  • Professor David Schlosberg, Professor of Environmental Politics in the Department of Government and International Relations at the University of Sydney, and Co-Director of the Sydney Environment Institute.
  • Professor Marc Stears is the director of the Sydney Policy Lab, at the University of Sydney.  He was formerly the Chief Executive of the New Economics Foundation, Professor of Political Theory and Fellow of University College, Oxford and chief advisor and speechwriter to Ed Miliband.  He is the author of many books and articles that engage with the development of progressive political movements in the UK and the USA.
  • Professor Kate Auty is the ACT Commissioner for Sustainability and the Environment and a Professorial Fellow with the University of Melbourne. She is on the boards of MSRF Ltd and The Rescope Project Ltd. She chairs the North East Water Community Energy Advisory Board and the Board of the Banksia Foundation Ltd. In early 2018 Kate agreed to be co-opted to the board of Sustainable Business Australia
  • Christopher Wright (chair), Professor of Organisational Studies and leader of the Balanced Enterprise Research Network at the University of Sydney Business School. His research focuses on the diffusion of management knowledge, consultancy and organisational change. 

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