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
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.
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 Mission and Vision
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.
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. 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.
Ed Whittingham, MBA
Ed Whittingham is the Executive Director of the Pembina Institute, Canada’s leading energy and environment research organization. Pembina aims to advance sustainable energy solutions through research, advocacy and consulting, through 55 staff in seven offices across Canada working on a $5 million annual budget. In September 2011 Ed was named to Canada’s 2012 Clean50 list, which honours 50 outstanding contributors to sustainable development and clean capitalism in Canada. Read full bio...
Chris Severson-Baker, MA
Chris' primary responsibility as managing director is to ensure the Pembina Institute has the right people, resources and internal systems it needs to carry out its strategic plan. Read full bio...
Simon Dyer, M.Sc., P.Biol.
Simon Dyer is policy director at the Pembina Institute, and former director of the Institute's oilsands program. A registered professional biologist, Simon has worked on natural resource management issues in western Canada since 1999. Simon holds a Master of Science in environmental biology and ecology from the University of Alberta, and a Master of Arts in natural sciences from the University of Cambridge. Simon lives and works in a small town in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains with his wife Arin and two children. He came to Canada from the U.K. to attend graduate school, and after getting hooked on backpacking, he decided to stay. Read full bio...
Clare Demerse, MJ (English / français)
Director of Federal Policy
As the director of federal policy at the Pembina Institute, Clare Demerse researches federal government policies that have implications for sustainable energy and climate change. Clare provides analysis to federal officials, politicians and a range of stakeholders as well as acting as a spokesperson in the media on behalf of the Institute. Read full bio...
Julia Kilpatrick, MJ, BA Hon. (English / français)
Communications Manager, Communications
Julia Kilpatrick oversees the Pembina Institute's communications program, including planning and strategy, media relations, audience engagement, and the development and delivery of the Institute’s many research publications and online resources. Read full bio...
Devika Shah, MBA
Director of Strategic Relationships
Devika's role is to strengthen Pembina's capacity to advance sustainable energy solutions by strategically engaging individuals and organizations in the work of the Institute. In particular, she is focused on building Pembina's network of external relationships, attracting philanthropic support to the organization and enlisting key influencers to serve as "ambassadors" for Pembina's policy solutions. Read full bio...
Tim Weis, M.Sc., PhD, P.Eng. (English / français)
Director, Renewable Energy and Efficiency Policy
Dr. Tim Weis is a professional engineer and the director of renewable energy and efficiency policy at the Pembina Institute. Tim specializes in clean energy policy design, research and strategic decision making. He has written extensively on sustainable energy technical and policy issues at national, provincial and municipal levels, as well as opportunities specific to First Nations’ and northern communities. He has assisted more than 20 communities at various stages of development of renewable energy projects and has also worked as a renewable energy consultant examining wind energy challenges in Northern communities. Read full bio...
Jennifer Grant, M.Sc.
Jennifer Grant is director of the Oilsands Program at the Pembina Institute. She has worked with the Institute since 2006 on the cumulative environmental impacts of Canada's oilsands development. Read full bio...
Matt Horne, MRM
Director, Climate Change
Matt Horne is the director of the Pembina Institute's Climate Change program. He has been with the organization since 2003, focusing on policy change that will reduce greenhouse gas emissions in British Columbia and provide replicable models for the rest of Canada. In pursuit of this goal, he has worked on initiatives with the province, municipalities and First Nations. Prior to joining Pembina, Matt worked extensively with energy-economy models on projects attempting to estimate the costs and benefits of climate change policy in Canada. Matt holds a Bachelor of Engineering from Dalhousie University and a Master of Resource and Environmental Management from Simon Fraser University. Read full bio...
Cherise Burda, B.Ed., B.Sc., MA
Director, Ontario Policy, Transportation
Cherise Burda directs research and implementation strategies for transportation solutions in Canada, including policy initiatives for urban form. In addition to her role as transportation director, Cherise leads the institute's Ontario policy program, focusing on research to advance renewable energy solutions, and is a regular spokesperson on transportation, renewable energy and Ontario policy issues. Read full bio...
Matt McCulloch, P.Eng.
Director, Consulting Services
In October of 1998, Matt drove from downtown Toronto to the middle of the oil patch in Drayton Valley, Alberta. He joined the Pembina Institute, a small organization of ten people. While the organization has grown to over fifty, Matt has worked with the consulting side of the Institute, primarily with businesses. Since the fall of 2010, Matt has been Director of the Consulting Group, consisting of a team of twenty working with companies, communities and governments on clean energy solutions. Read full bio...
Jason Switzer, M.S.Eng., MS (TPP)
Director, Corporate Consulting
Jason Switzer leads Pembina's consulting team of six staff. He joined Pembina in April 2011, after nearly a decade in international development and corporate environmental management. His goal at Pembina is to work with a wide range of companies and help them find competitive advantage in more-sustainable practices. Read full bio...
Josha MacNab, MRM
Director, Sustainable Communities
Josha MacNab is the Director of the Pembina Institute's Sustainable Communities Group. Josha focuses on finding policy solutions to municipal and provincial level climate change issues. Josha provides technical and policy advice to municipalities and First Nations communities in British Columbia that are committed to taking action on climate change through emissions reductions, energy planning and policy. She has led projects on emissions inventorying, green buildings policy, renewable energy development and community engagement. Josha is currently leading a project to build capacity in communities to understand and tackle carbon neutrality, carbon pricing and offset purchasing. Josha holds a Master of Resource Management degree from Simon Fraser University. Read full bio...
Full staff list
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.
David brings his strong experience in foundations, governance and fundraising to the Pembina Institute. Read full bio...
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. Read full bio...
Wanda Hellevang has been a management consultant for 11 years and has focused on helping organizations successfully implement large-scale change. Read full bio...
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. Read full bio...
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. Read full bio...
Carber has been an active business advisor for more than 20 years and specializes in the areas of growth strategy and leadership. Read full bio...
Garry Mann's 33+ year career spans a wide variety of health, safety and environment issues and disciplines primarily in the oil and gas sector and in numerous domestic Canadian as well as international settings. Read full bio...
Dan Balaban is an accomplished entrepreneur and management consultant with a wide range of business experience. Read full bio...
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. Read full bio...
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.
- 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.