Tom Beer, D.Sc., Ph.D., the Immediate Past President of the Australian-New Zealand Chapter of the Society of Risk Analysis, is a Director of Safe System Solutions Pty Ltd, a Melbourne based boutique consultancy with 16 employees. Until July 2014 he was a Chief Research Scientist in CSIRO, the Australian Government Scientific Research Agency and the Leader of the Climate Processes and Impacts Program for the Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research (CAWCR), a partnership between the CSIRO and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.
During 1995 he was Science Adviser to the Environment Protection Agency in Canberra and undertook a risk review of national environmental priorities. Subsequently, Dr Beer was coordinator of the CSIRO Environmental Risk Network and undertook two of the preparatory studies for the National Environment Protection Measure for Ambient Air Quality. He was a lead author for the Atmosphere Theme Report of the Australian 2001 and 2006 State of the Environment reports. He was a member of the IPCC Expert Group on Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Waste, and also a lead author for the chapter on waste in the IPCC Special Report on Technology Transfer. The IPCC was awarded the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.
Dr Beer has been instrumental since 1995 in the development of risk assessment methods and the transfer of his knowledge of risk assessment methodology and its outcomes to the international geophysical community. His pioneering work in this area led to the creation of the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUGG) Commission on Geophysical Risk and Sustainability (with Beer as foundation Chair) that in 2002 issued the 'Budapest Manifesto on Risk Science and Sustainability'. This formed a key platform in the IYPE (International Year of the Planet Earth) Hazards Science Theme that was led by Dr Beer. The concepts embodied in the Budapest Manifesto were based on the Australian/New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 4360 because Dr Beer was a member of the Standards Australia committee that devised AS4360, which has since become the new International Standard on Risk Management ISO 31000.
In recognition of the role of the Budapest Manifesto in Environmental Risk Management Dr Beer was elected to the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. This follows on from Beer’s 2007 election as President of the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUGG). Even though Australia was a founding member of IUGG in 1919, Beer is the first Australian to have held the office of President. He was instrumental in the successful bid to hold the 2011 General Assembly of IUGG in Australia and served as Deputy Chair of the Local Organising Committee. In 2016 he was awarded the University of Sydney Alumni Award for International Achievement.
Beer has been a pioneer in the development of methods to quantify greenhouse gas emissions. Beer has incorporated life cycle assessment into studies of environmental risk, especially in relation to alternative fuels. Beer and his team have undertaken numerous studies that use their risk methodology to examine alternative fuels for which work he was part of the team that won the CSIRO Chairman’s Medal in 2000. From 2007 to 2010 he led the Alternative Fuels Stream of the Transport Theme of the CSIRO Energy Transformed Flagship,
Dr Beer is the author of 14 books, over 100 articles in refereed journals, a similar number of book chapters and papers in conference proceedings, and over 44 specialised consultancy reports. In 2004 he was awarded the degree of Doctor of Science by the University of Canterbury (New Zealand) for his work on The Atmosphere and its Risks. He is a Fellow of the Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society, the Environment Institute of Australia and New Zealand, the Australian Institute of Energy and the Clean Air Society of Australia and New Zealand for which Society he was the Founding Chair of the Risk Special Interest Group.