Pembina Institute

Nathan Lemphers — former employee

Senior Policy Analyst, Oilsands, Pembina Institute

Nathan Lemphers is a senior policy analyst in the Pembina Institute's oilsands program. Since 2009, Nathan has examined the topics of oilsands economics and environmental management. In particular, Nathan's research has focused on the liability management of oilsands mines, the economics of the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline, the macroeconomic effects of oilsands development and the transboundary environmental impacts of the oilsands.

Beyond his policy-related work with the Institute, Nathan has contributed to private and public consulting projects on such topics as offshore oil and gas drilling regulations, wetlands policy, sustainable design and sustainability reporting. Nathan is also a frequent media spokesperson for the Institute on oilsands-related issues.

Nathan holds a master's degree in city planning with a certificate in environmental planning and policy from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he wrote his thesis on the interface between the corporate environmental performance of three oilsands companies and Alberta's environmental policies. He also holds a bachelor of science in environmental and conservation sciences from the University of Alberta.

Blogs
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Op-Eds
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Publications

Booms, busts and bitumen

The economic implications of Canadian oilsands development

Published Nov. 13, 2013

By Steven Guilbeault, Sarah Dobson, Nathan Lemphers

This report, jointly published by Equiterre and the Pembina Institute, examines how the rapid pace of oilsands development is creating economic risks and regional disparities that could have long-term implications for Canadian prosperity.

Beneath the Surface

A review of key facts in the oilsands debate

Published Jan. 28, 2013

By Simon Dyer, Jennifer Grant, Marc Huot, Nathan Lemphers

This report examines some common claims about the environmental performance of oilsands producers and the environmental impacts of oilsands production.

Published Jan. 17, 2013

By Nathan Lemphers

This backgrounder features new analysis showing that producing enough bitumen to fill the Keystone XL pipeline would lead to a significant increase in greenhouse gas emissions, and inhibit Canada’s ability to meet its climate targets.

In the Shadow of the Boom

How oilsands development is reshaping Canada’s economy

Published May 30, 2012

By Dan Woynillowicz, Nathan Lemphers

This report looks at the extent to which oilsands production and exports are affecting Canada’s economy, and explores the longer-term economic implications of increased reliance on oilsands expansion to support economic growth and generate public revenue.

Challenges to exporting Canadian oilsands crude overseas

An overview of significant short-term barriers and market uncertainties facing Canadian oilsands exports

Published Feb. 24, 2012

By Nathan Lemphers

There are several barriers that make exporting Canadian oilsands to overseas markets (and most notably Asian markets) a challenging prospect in the near future.

This briefing note discusses the most likely options to transport oilsands beyond the American Midwest, where the export market is currently saturated with oilsands exports and new Bakken shale oil production. These options include additional pipelines to the West (Enbridge Northern Gateway and Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain) and to the East (Enbridge Trailbreaker), as well as rail transport.

Pipeline and Tanker Trouble

The impact to British Columbia's communities, rivers, and Pacific coastline from tar sands oil transport

Published Nov. 29, 2011

By Living Oceans Society, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), Nathan Lemphers

This report highlights the environmental risks associated with the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline, which would carry more than half a million barrels of raw oilsands crude oil (known as bitumen) daily across important salmon-bearing rivers, coastal rainforests, and sensitive marine waters in British Columbia.

Keystone XL in context: oilsands and environmental management

Two decades of ineffective policies have left their mark on the Canadian landscape

Published Sept. 22, 2011

By Jennifer Grant, Nathan Lemphers, Lindsay Fischer

Filling the proposed KXL pipeline with oilsands will result in nearly a 50 per cent increase in oilsands production. Until environmental management of the oilsands is improved, KXL will cause significant environmental harm due to increased oilsands production.

These briefing materials provide a summary on the impact of oilsands development on land, species at risk, First Nations, water and tailings and greenhouse gases.

Oilsands and climate change

How Canada's oilsands are standing in the way of effective climate action

Published Sept. 16, 2011

By Marc Huot, Nathan Lemphers, Lindsay Fischer

The Final Environmental Impact Statement for the pipeline issued by the U.S. Department of State overlooked key information and context on greenhouse gas emission management in Canada. In fact, a close inspection of Canada's climate record illustrates key weaknesses at the federal level as well as in Alberta.

This fact sheet and briefing note aim to supplement the dialogue by providing key information on oilsands emissions growth, future oilsands intensity improvements, and the climate policies in effect in Canada at the provincial and federal levels.

Published June 22, 2011

By Peggy Holroyd, Nathan Lemphers, Jennifer Dagg, Benjamin Thibault, Randy Lucas, Chris Severson-Baker, Steve Kennett, James Leaton, Ben Wheeler

This report compares Canada's Arctic offshore drilling regulatory regime with the regimes of the U.S., the U.K., Greenland, and Norway. The study was initiated by the National Energy Board as part of its Arctic Offshore Drilling Review.

Published June 22, 2011

By Peggy Holroyd, Nathan Lemphers, Jennifer Dagg, Benjamin Thibault, Randy Lucas, Chris Severson-Baker, Steve Kennett, James Leaton, Ben Wheeler

This document summarizes the key information contained in a report comparing Canada's Arctic offshore drilling regulatory regime with the regimes of the U.S., the U.K., Greenland, and Norway.

Full disclosure

Environmental liabilities in Canada's oilsands: Perspective for investors

Published June 9, 2011

By Nathan Lemphers, Andrew Logan

Canada's oilsands contain the world's largest remaining deposit of oil that is still open to investment by western oil companies. As such, the oilsands are crucial to the long-term financial future of many of the world's leading oil companies. Yet the economics of oilsands extraction, even at today's relatively high prices, are fairly marginal, and a lack of disclosure by companies may be making the financial picture look better than it actually is.

Published Feb. 24, 2011

By Jesse Row, Paul Cobb, Nathan Lemphers, Erin Welk

This research report, commissioned by the City of Calgary, identifies and assesses potential options for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Calgary. 

Published Jan. 31, 2011

By Nathan Lemphers, Danielle Droitsch

This briefing note draws from a recent Pembina Institute analysis of the likelihood of near term opportunities for oilsands exports from Canada to Asia via the West Coast. 

Slideshow: Pipeline to Nowhere?

Uncertainties and unanswered questions about the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline

Published Dec. 16, 2010

By Nathan Lemphers

This slideshow presents highlights of the report Pipeline to Nowhere?, which addresses several unanswered questions about the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline.

Pipeline to Nowhere?

Uncertainty and unanswered questions about the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline

Published Dec. 16, 2010

By Nathan Lemphers

This report addresses several unanswered questions about the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline. 

Toxic Liability

How Albertans Could End Up Paying for Oilsands Mine Reclamation (Report)

Published Sept. 14, 2010

By Nathan Lemphers, Simon Dyer, Jennifer Grant

The pace and scale of oilsands mining continues to increase in Alberta despite a poor understanding of the environmental liabilities: reclamation costs associated with cleaning up the environmental impacts created from mining. In Toxic Liability, the Pembina Institute has compiled the first public estimate of these liabilities, and it looks like Albertans could be left on the hook for the lion's share ($10 to $15 billion) of the cleanup bill.

Toxic Liability

How Albertans Could End Up Paying for Oilsands Mine Reclamation (Fact Sheet)

Published Sept. 14, 2010

By Nathan Lemphers, Simon Dyer, Jennifer Grant

The pace and scale of oilsands mining continues to increase in Alberta despite a poor understanding of the environmental liabilities: reclamation costs associated with cleaning up the environmental impacts created from mining. In Toxic Liability, the Pembina Institute has compiled the first public estimate of these liabilities, and it looks like Albertans could be left on the hook for the lion's share ($10 to $15 billion) of the cleanup bill.

Northern Lifeblood (fact sheet)

Empowering Northern Leaders to Protect the Mackenzie River Basin from the Risks of Oilsands Development

Published July 21, 2010

By Jennifer Grant, Simon Dyer, Nathan Lemphers, Jennifer Dagg

This fact sheet, Northern Lifeblood — Empowering Northern Leaders to Protect the Mackenzie River Basin from the Risks of Oilsands Development, provides an overview of threats to the Mackenzie River Basin and actions that leaders in the North can take to protect their waters.

Northern Lifeblood

Empowering Northern Leaders to Protect the Mackenzie River Basin from Oilsands Risks

Published July 21, 2010

By Jennifer Grant, Simon Dyer, Nathan Lemphers, Jennifer Dagg

This report, Northern Lifeblood — Empowering Northern Leaders to Protect the Mackenzie River Basin from the Risks of Oilsands Development, investigates current and future threats to the Mackenzie River Basin, including the risks associated with the 170 square kilometres of toxic tailings lakes in the Athabasca watershed. The report also details opportunities for both northern leaders and the federal government to proactively protect northern waters.

Low-Carbon Transportation Policies

A Comparison of California’s Low-Carbon Fuel Standard and Other Transportation Policies

Published March 1, 2010

By Jeremy Moorhouse, Nathan Lemphers

This report explores the range of low-carbon transportation policies available to regulators, describes the role of California’s low-carbon fuel standard within the context of these other policies, suggests evaluation criteria that regulators can use to evaluate low-carbon transportation policy options and alternatives to the low-carbon fuel standard.

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