mssi logo

Professor Tom Pedersen

Professor Tom Pedersen is currently a Visiting Fellow at the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute. Pedersen holds a BSc in Geology from the University of British Columbia (1974) and a PhD in Marine Geochemistry from the University of Edinburgh (1979). Following post-doctoral work at UBC, he served with the faculty of the Department of Oceanography (Assistant Professor (1983), Associate Professor (1989), Professor (1994)). In 2000 he joined the Faculty of Graduate Studies at UBC as Associate Dean, Research and Faculty Development, and in 2002 moved to the University of Victoria to become Head of the School of Earth and Ocean Sciences. He subsequently served as Dean of Science at UVic for six years prior to becoming in 2009 the founding Executive Director of the new Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions, established at UVic via a $90M endowment from the Province of British Columbia. Pedersen stepped down from that role in late 2015 and is currently on research leave, writing a book about BC’s climate-action history and experience.

Pedersen is internationally recognised for his research in the history of the oceans and the response of the sea to climate change through time, as well as for his work on the geochemical behaviour of submerged mine wastes in the sea and in lakes. He has co-edited two books on global change and published over 130 scientific papers and book chapters.

He has served on multiple international committees, including the Scientific Committee of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Program (Stockholm), and Past Global Changes (Bern), which he chaired. Since 2014, he has served as the CEO and Chair of the Board of the Canadian Climate Forum in Ottawa. In 2015 he was one of two Canadian scientists appointed to the West Coast Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia Panel by the Government of BC, and in 2015 and 2016 he served on British Columbia’s Climate Leadership Team at the invitation of the Premier. He has wide-ranging interests in the field of public policy that addresses the compelling issue of human-induced climate change.

Pedersen has received several honours for his scholarship including a UBC Killam Outstanding Teaching Award in 1990 and the Michael J. Keen Medal of the Geological Association of Canada in 2002. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2002 and a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union in 2006.