Dr Pearman was trained as a biologist at the University of Western Australia and later as a postgraduate in the USA at the University of Wisconsin. He joined CSIRO, in 1971 where he was Chief of Atmospheric Research and CSIRO Climate Director, 1992–2002. Through work as Chairman of START International (Washington) and with the International Council of Science he has been involved in building research capacity internationally. He has contributed to over 150 scientific journal papers primarily on aspects of the global carbon budget. In 2004 he left CSIRO to run his own consultancy company. He is currently Interim Director, Monash Sustainability Institute, Monash University, and contracts to both private and public sector organisations.
Dr Pearman was the main thrust behind the establishment of the Australian Baseline Monitoring Station in Tasmania, which is now recognised as the premier observatory of this kind in the world. In the mid-1980's, with the development of understanding concerning likely planetary warming, Dr Pearman became involved in the communication of this work to the wider scientific and lay community, gaining widespread Australian media attention to the greenhouse effect in 1986. He played a lead role in building up climate modelling and atmospheric chemistry research at the CSIRO Division of Atmospheric Research. He also initiated the science-focussed conference Greenhouse 87, the community-focussed Greenhouse 88, and Greenhouse 94, a conference that brought together an even wider range of experts. He continues to conduct influential briefings for the media, governments at all levels, Ministers and departmental staff, and peak bodies of industry, and engineering and environmental groups.
Dr Pearman was elected to Fellowship of the Australian Academy of Science (1988), the Royal Society of Victoria (1997) and the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (2005). He was awarded the CSIRO Medal (1988), a United Nation’s Environment Program Global 500 Award (1989), Australian Medal of the Order of Australia (1999) and a Federation Medal (2003).
Dr Pearman consults and speaks widely to audiences of all kinds on in his areas of expertise:
• Energy futures
• Sustainability and sustainability science;
• Scientific capacity building;
• Public communication of science
• The role of science in modern societies.