Pembina Institute

About Pembina

A young girl holding an energy-efficient CFL light bulb. When we step out of a Canadian winter into a toasty room, we usually don't think much about all that went into getting that room warm for us — from the fuel or power source, to its transmission to our homes and buildings, to the technology we use to convert that source into heat and distribute it throughout our rooms. Same goes for when we flick a light switch or turn the key in an ignition.

But the choices we make along those energy pathways have a huge bearing on the health of our water, air, land, climate and ultimately ourselves as people.

— Ed Whittingham, Executive Director


To advance clean energy solutions through innovative research, education, consulting and advocacy.

The Pembina Institute envisions a world in which our immediate and future needs are met in a manner that protects the earth's living systems; ensures clean air, land and water; prevents dangerous climate change; and provides for a safe and just global community.

The Pembina Institute is an organization unlike any other working to protect Canada’s environment today. We combine the research and technical capacity of a think tank with the values and advocacy of an environmental non-governmental organization (NGO) and the entrepreneurial and business sense of a for-profit consulting firm. This equips us with a unique ability to employ multi-faceted and highly collaborative approaches to change.

Pembina’s 50 staff in B.C., Alberta, Ontario and the Northwest Territories use research, advocacy and consulting as tools toward our goal of leading Canada’s transition to a clean energy future.

Our Approach

Leading the transition to a clean energy future is no small task, and it requires advancing solutions to today’s energy challenges from various angles. The Pembina Institute has spent close to three decades working to reduce the environmental impacts of Canada’s energy production and use in several key areas:

  • driving down energy demand by encouraging energy efficiency and transportation powered with cleaner energy sources;
  • promoting pragmatic policy approaches for governments to avoid dangerous climate change, such as increasing the amount of renewable energy plugged into our electricity grids;
  • and — recognizing that the transition to clean energy will include fossil fuels for some time — advocating for responsible development of Canada’s oilsands and shale gas resources.

Our integrated approach of advocacy and consulting advances policies that create the space needed for optimal environmental performance, while allowing us to consult directly with organizations to design and implement clean energy solutions.

This approach enables our team of engineers, scientists, lawyers and environmental policy experts to stay up to date on today’s energy-related challenges, while maintaining the real-world technical expertise that makes us effective. It also helps us to advance on-the-ground clean energy solutions and ensures our policy advocacy and research remains grounded and science-based.

Our History

In October 1982, the Lodgepole sour gas blowout killed two people and heavily polluted the air of central Alberta. Sour gas pollution from Canada's largest industrial accident continued to spew into the air for weeks, affecting people in cities like Edmonton and even across provincial borders.

This tragic event and resulting inquiry inspired a small group of local residents to band together to press for higher safety standards in the oil and gas industry.

Read more about our history

As a result of their intervention, the regulations guiding sour gas development by the petroleum industry were changed dramatically. Empowered by the positive experience of citizen-led action, this group went on to found the Pembina Institute in 1985.

In the years that followed the inquiry, the Pembina Institute successfully applied a number of different strategies to improve the health and environmental standards used to conduct business within the oil and gas sector.

The Pembina Institute continues to pioneer practical, multi-stakeholder solutions to energy and environmental issues across Canada.

For a more detailed history, see Our 25th Anniversary page marking our celebrations in 2010.

Our Staff

Pembina is made up of engineers, scientists, MBAs and communication professionals working throughout B.C., Alberta, Ontario and the Northwest Territories.

See our key staff

Ed Whittingham
Executive Director

Chris Severson-Baker
Managing Director, Acting Regional Director

Josha MacNab
Regional Director, British Columbia

Matt Horne
Associate Regional Director, British Columbia

Cherise Burda
Regional Director, Ontario

Amin Asadollahi
Program Director, Oilsands

Benjamin Thibault
Program Director, Electricity

Jesse Row
Program Director, Energy Efficiency

Julia Kilpatrick
Communications Director

Trish Long
Director, Strategic Partnerships

Board of Directors

The Pembina Institute's Board of Directors provides governance, support and operational strategic direction for the organization. The board meets regularly throughout the year.

Our board comprises experienced and insightful professionals who bring to the table diverse perspectives on environmental priorities, business administration, and societal responsibility. Board members serve as volunteers.

See our Board of Directors

David Runnalls

David Runnalls is a Distinguished Fellow of IISD and of the Centre for International Governance Innovation. He is also acting director of Sustainable Prosperity and visiting professor of Geography at the University of Ottawa.

 He served as President of IISD for eleven years before stepping down in 2010. During this period the Institute experienced an unprecedented growth in programs and budget and became one of the half dozen premier institutions of its kind in the world.

He is Chair of the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development. He is a member of the Advisory Council for Export Development Canada; a member of the Council for Sustainable Development Technology Canada; and a member of the Committee for the Business Network for Sustainability. He also serves on the International Sustainability Innovation Council of Switzerland (ISIS), and the Shell Sustainability Report External Review Committee. He is a member of the Trade and Investment Task Force of the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development and of the CIDA Advisory Committee on Evaluation.

An occasional writer and broadcaster, he has served as environment columnist for the CBC radio program, As it Happens and for CTV's Canada am. He was a member of the Discovery Channel's regular environment panel and political columnist for the Earth Times, the paper of record for the United Nations Earth Summit in 1992.

David Armour
Past President

David brings his strong experience in foundations, governance and fundraising to the Pembina Institute.

He approaches his volunteer role at the Institute with enthusiasm for the importance of the organization’s work and respect for the team’s research and fact-based approach. David’s past experience includes President and CEO of United Way of Canada—Centraide Canada, CEO of the Canadian Medical Foundation and Senior Advisor for Health Sciences Development to the University Laval Foundation in Québec City.  He lives in Chelsea, Quebec. David is a member of the Pembina Institute's Board of Directors.

Stephanie Cairns

Stephanie Cairns has been a consultant since 1999, providing strategic advice and policy analysis on ecological fiscal reform, climate change and energy policy to think tanks, federal departments, leadership corporations and NGOs.

She is principal of Wrangellia Consulting and director of the think-tank Carbon Pricing with Sustainable Prosperity. She is a former policy advisor on Parliament Hill, and has had senior roles with several national NGOs. She founded the Pembina Institute's ecological tax reform program, and later worked as an associate with the corporate consulting team.

Stephanie also serves on the boards of the International Institute for Sustainable Development and of Training Resources for the Environmental Community, and is a trustee emeritus and past chair of the national board of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society. She is a graduate of environmental studies at the University of Toronto and of the industrial environmental economics program at Lund University, Sweden. She splits her time between Victoria and Galiano Island in B.C.

John Stone

John Stone is an adjunct research professor in the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies at Carleton University, and is widely regarded as an expert on climate change and international affairs.

His experience on international scientific boards includes the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; the Management Board studying the hydrology and climate of the Mackenzie Basin; the Scientific Steering Committee for the START international program on building capacity for global change research; the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change; the UN/ECE Senior Advisors on Science and Technology; the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis; and the NATO Science Committee.

He served many roles in his career with Environment Canada before his retirement in 2005 including executive director (climate change) for the Meteorological Service of Canada; director-general of Atmospheric Environment Service, and director of both the Meteorological Research Branch and the Climate Research Branch of Atmospheric Environment Service. He has also worked for the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, the Ministry of State for Science and Technology and the National Research Council.

He received a Ph.D. in Chemical Spectroscopy and an Honours B.Sc. in Chemistry from the University of Reading (U.K.). He is affiliated with the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society.

Wanda Hellevang

Wanda Hellevang has been a management consultant for 11 years and has focused on helping organizations successfully implement large-scale change.

Wanda enjoyed life abroad for 15 years in London and Hong Kong where prior to consulting she did some marketing work for investment banks. In the UK Wanda was a founding trustee of Vital Sparks, a not for profit organization which linked professionals with time and talent to donate with charities needing a boost. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce with a major in marketing from the University of Calgary and an MBA from the London Business School.

Wanda lives with her daughter Aysha (her most daunting change management challenge) in Calgary. She is keen to ensure future generations have access to the pristine prairies just as she had growing up on a Southern Alberta farm.

Ken Ogilvie

Ken has more than 30 years of experience in government, institutional and not-for-profit organizations, holding positions ranging from project engineering to policy development and public advocacy.

Since leaving his position as Executive Director of Pollution Probe in April 2008, Ken Ogilvie has been an environmental consultant and served as a Senior Advisor to the Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability practice of Deloitte & Touche LLP.

Ken was the Executive Director of Pollution Probe from October 1995 to March 2008. Prior to that he served for two years as Executive Coordinator of the Ontario Round Table on Environment.

He currently serves on several Boards, including vice-chair of Sustainable Development Technology Canada and chair of The Institute for Environmental Innovation.

Ken's academic credentials include a Bachelor of Applied Science, University of Waterloo, and a Master of Business Administration, York University. Ken has accepted an invitation to receive a Doctor of Environment (honoris causa) by the University of Waterloo on October 24, 2009.

Carber Goodlet

Carber has been an active business advisor for more than 20 years and specializes in the areas of growth strategy and leadership.

As the Founder and President of Insight Council Ltd., a peer advisory board and leadership coaching company for CEOs of businesses and not-for-profit organizations. He regularly works with organization leaders to help them with their most pressing issues. In addition to Insight Council Carber is the Principal of Cadence Partners Limited (since 2002) where he assists clients in the development of pragmatic growth strategies.

Carber is active in the Calgary community, where he participates in the PathFinders 2 pilot program of Leadership Calgary and recently served on the Program Committee. He also currently chairs the Board of Directors at Motive Action Training Foundation.


Dan Balaban

Dan Balaban is an accomplished entrepreneur and management consultant with a wide range of business experience.

Dan is the Founder, President and CEO of Greengate Power Corporation, a leading Calgary based wind energy project developer. Greengate’s vision is to be Canada’s largest pure-play producer of clean energy. Prior to starting up Greengate, Dan was the Founder, President and CEO of Inc., a leading provider of software solutions to the Canadian oil & gas industry. Prior to his tenure with, Dan worked as a management consultant with Ernst & Young and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

Dan graduated from the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Science. He is a member of the boards of the Pembina Institute and the Independent Power Producers Society of Alberta. Dan is also a member of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization and is a founding member of the Alberta Clean Electricity Coalition. Dan has received recognition for his business and community accomplishments, making the list as one of Avenue magazine’s Top 40 Under 40 in 2009, named one of Alberta’s 50 Most Influential People 2010 by Alberta Venture magazine, chosen as a Leader of Tomorrow by Business in Calgary magazine in 2010, and selected as a finalist for Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur Of The Year in 2010, 2011 and 2012.

Pembina Advisory Council

As voluntary members of the Pembina Advisory Council, the following individuals contribute their expertise, diverse perspectives and strategic advice to the Pembina Institute's Executive Director, Board of Directors and key staff on sustainable energy policy issues and challenges. They also offer perspectives on projects and strategies for consideration.

See our Advisory Council
  • Michael Adams, Founding President, Environics Research Group (communications & public opinion expertise)
  • Mark Cameron, Director of Global Public Policy, Research in Motion (policy & political expertise)
  • Karen Clarke-Whistler, Chief Environmental Officer, TD Bank Financial Group (industry expertise)
  • Bob Elton, former CEO of BC Hydro and Chair, World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on the New Energy Architecture (industry and policy expertise)
  • Charlie Fischer, former CEO of Nexen Inc. and head of clean energy working group within the US-Canada Clean Energy Dialogue (industry expertise)
  • Fred Gallagher, Principal, Innovitas Inc. (renewable and electrical energy expertise)
  • Preston Manning, President and CEO, the Manning Centre for Building Democracy (policy & political expertise)
  • David McLaughlin, President and CEO, National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy (policy expertise)

Participation on this council does not in any way represent endorsement of the Pembina Institute's public policy positions and statements, and vice-versa.

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