Social Justice Initiative

Welcome to the Social Justice Initiative (SJI) at the University of Melbourne. The aims of the Social Justice Initiative are to conduct research in moral and political theory that raises issues of public importance. The research is organised around two main themes: Climate Justice and Public Health Ethics.

Current Projects

New Book

Jeremy Moss, Reassessing Egalitarianism, Palgrave MacMillan, 2014.

The Ethics of Renewable Energy

This project considers the social and ethical implications of moving from fossil fuels to renewable energy, focusing on what principles can be used to assess this impact—for instance, negative impacts on displaced industries and questions surrounding who should benefit from and own renewable energy sources.

Health Implications of the Transition to a Zero Carbon Economy

This project provides a review of the international literature on the health impacts and distribution of health burdens that attend solar, wind and unconventional gas technologies. The resultant reports draw evidenced-based conclusions regarding the comparative impacts of large-scale Australian energy sources and the profile of those impacts.

  • See part I of the report "Is Fracking Good for Your Health?" here
  • Read the article "Harms unknown: Health uncertainties cast doubt on the role of unconventional gas in Australia's energy future" here.
  • Egalitarian Political Philosophy

    What role does equality play within questions of distributive justice? In Reassessing Egalitarianism, Dr Jeremy Moss argues that the current debate concerning equality has not taken account of the best ways of valuing equality and has not offered a conception of equality that is substantive enough to address severe inequalities.

    Carbon Budgets and Exporting Harm

    This research discusses an aspect of the problem of how to divide the world's remaining 'carbon budget' – the amount of CO2-e that can be emitted if we are to avoid dangerous climate change--arguing that current methods for allocating emissions and responsibilities for their harms are inadequate and more complex than they appear. In particular, there is a case to be made for allocating responsibility for the harms caused by 'export emissions'—such as those produced by coal exports—along with those that are produced within a country's borders.

    Upcoming and Recent Events

    New subject announced

    Philosophy, Politics and Economics (2nd Semester 2014)

    This subject will provide an introduction to the disciplines of philosophy, politics and economics as well as a focus on major social and economic issues. We will address questions such as: What are the ethical principles that should inform social and economic institutions? What is the best form of market organization? What are the best political institutions for global and national entities?

    Issues to be covered in detail may include: