Pembina Institute

Speaking energy for 30 years

Ed Whittingham, Pembina Executive Director

Pembina Institute staff engage in a wide array of speaking opportunities. From our broadly knowledgeable and entertaining executive director, Ed Whittingham, to experts in the fields of renewable energy, energy efficiency, climate change, oilsands, liquified natural gas and transportation, the Pembina Institute can provide keynote speakers for events or experts for small format presentations to companies, government or the public.

Rates for senior staff are generally $2,000 to $2,500 plus expenses. We offer special rates for not-for-profits.

To book a speaker, email Lynne Whenham or call her at 604-874-8558 x226.

Featured Speakers

Ed WhittinghamEd Whittingham

Executive Director

National energy strategy • corporate sustainability and best practices • oilsands impacts • collaboration • sustainable energy policies • renewable energy • climate change strategies

Bio - Ed Whittingham

Ed Whittingham is the personable and engaging executive director of the Pembina Institute, a sustainable energy think tank with 55 employees working on renewable energy, climate change, oilsands and transportation in Canada.

Whittingham wants to see sustainable energy solutions become the cornerstone of our energy supply and economy. As he puts it: "The way we produce and consume energy has a real bearing on the mark we leave on the environment."

Whittingham serves in an advisory capacity to companies, industry associations, government bodies and research networks on sustainable energy solutions. He regularly speaks to Canadian and American audiences on climate change, corporate sustainability, energy strategy and oilsands issues. He is also a guest lecturer at the University of Calgary, the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, and The Banff Centre.

On first blush, Whittingham hardly seems to fit the environmentalist stereotype, but his colorful and engaging speaking style is recognized and appreciated. In workshops, his ice-breaking sessions are legendary, perhaps a nod to his roots in theatre.


Whittingham is a driving force behind Pembina's pragmatic, research and solutions-oriented approach. He previously headed up the corporate consulting program that advises Canadian companies, governments, political leaders and NGOs on sustainable energy strategies and management practices.

Ed specializes in greenhouse gas management strategies, best practices for stakeholder engagement, and cross-sector collaboration for sustainable energy policy initiatives.

He led Pembina's consulting work on corporate sustainability, strategic planning and climate change. The consulting group also worked on Life Cycle Value Assessments, renewable energy, technology assessment, policy analyses, training, and workshop design and facilitation.

He previously managed UTSB Research, a Banff-based conservation group. The organization reported to Canadian parliamentary committees, spearheaded environmental litigation and led numerous policy research projects.

Whittingham holds an International MBA from York University's Schulich School of Business, where he studied as a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada scholar.

Whittingham specialized in corporate sustainability and international business during his graduate studies. His interest in international issues began when he spent a year in Japan as part of the Rotary International Youth Exchange Program doing market research for the United Nations Environment Programme.

Memberships, Committees and Director Positions

  • Member, Leadership Council, Research Network for Business Sustainability (present)
  • Member Representative, New Directions Group (present)
  • Instructor, "The Policy and Regulatory Aspects of CCS," Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (present)
  • Researcher and Member, Energy Framework Initiative, CAPP/CGI/CEPA/CPPI (2009)
  • Chair, Oversight Committee, Incorporating Climate Change Adaptation into Business Strategy project, Research Network for Business Sustainability (2008-2009)
  • Member, Oversight Committee, Best Practices in Community Engagement project, Research Network for Business Sustainability (2007-2008)

Cherise BurdaCherise Burda

Regional Director, Ontario

Ontario renewable energy policy • sustainable transportation • sustainable urban design • electric vehicles • alternative transportation and transit solutions

Bio – Cherise Burda

Cherise BurdaBorn and raised in the 905 region of Greater Toronto, Cherise Burda is intimately familiar with the transportation and urban sprawl issues facing Ontario's biggest city. After all, it's here that roads and highways are more congested than anywhere else in North America and drivers endure the longest commutes.

 "I live and breathe the problems that urban sprawl has created in Toronto and so I am compelled to work on these issues," explains Cherise.

As the Pembina Institute's regional director of Ontario, Cherise works in an advisory capacity to government bodies and research networks, researching, analyzing and providing implementation strategies for sustainable energy policies in Ontario, including transportation and urban design and development.

Cherise provides the perfect combination of personal engagement and professional experience to make her speaking style both entertaining and instructive, while her training in education helps her turn complicated policy information into accessible, constructive content for a variety of audiences.

"Solutions to Ontario's transportation problems include everything from making our vehicles and fuel sources cleaner and reducing the amount of driving that people need to do, to investing in better transit systems across the province," says Cherise.

"Our cites need to be designed in a way that reduces our reliance on the automobile. Ontarians are spending far too much time stuck in traffic and it's affecting their quality of life — from long daily commutes to breathing unhealthy air."

When Cherise is not working on big city sustainability issues: "I love to take my dog for long hikes in beautiful places."


  • Cherise is the lead author to a number of transportation solutions reports, including Driving Down Carbon and Bridging the Gulfand has worked tirelessly to promote renewable and clean energy development in Ontario, including coordinating the Renewable is Doable campaign, authoring Plugging Ontario Into A Green Future and playing a supporting role in securing the Ontario Green Energy Act.
  • Cherise has authored or co-authored numerous reports and publications for Pembina; click here for a list.
  • She has more than 15 years of experience researching, analyzing and advising on environmental policy in Canada including six years as program director for David Suzuki Foundation and three years at the University of Victoria's faculty of law. She also sat on the B.C. Forest Stewardship Council steering committee for two years.
  • Cherise has presented at dozens of international, national and regional conferences and events, community labour meetings and university courses.
  • She holds bachelor's degrees in both environmental science and English, as well as an education degree and a master's in environmental legislation and policy.

Chris Severson-BakerChris Severson-Baker

Managing Director

ENGO perspectives on carbon capture and storage (CCS) • consensus-based negotiation • oil and gas flaring and venting • impact of using coal to make electricity • stakeholder engagement in energy issues • oilsands

Bio - Chris Severson-Baker

Chris Severson-Baker is the Pembina Institute's invisible hand. He's spent 16 years helping define and create the Pembina Institute of today.

Today he is managing director, essentially the chief operating officer of the Pembina Institute, responsible for 55 staff and the financial health and strategic success of the organization.

More than a respected senior manager, Chris knows his stuff. He has written or co-written dozens of reports on the constant improvement of standards in the oil and gas, oilsands and electricity generation industries.

He excels at diving into complicated, messy situations where he consistently brings an insightful, level-headed, high-integrity approach to the table.

"I feel like climate change and the key sustainability challenges we currently face are putting the planet and people directly in danger — it's pretty serious stuff. It's something I want to focus my career on, trying to avert negative outcomes," explains Chris.

"Working for Pembina is the best way I can conceive of to make a contribution. As an individual you can have a bigger impact on these issues working for Pembina than working for industry or government — so I work for Pembina," says Chris.

His focus since joining the Institute in 1996 has been on reducing the health and environmental impacts of oil and gas, the oilsands and power generation in Alberta.

When the work week winds down "I like to spend time on a small piece of land outside of Calgary in the country. I enjoy spending time with my family out there and I always like having a good movie or book on the go." His latest recreational book: A Song of Ice and Fire series by George Martin.


Josha MacNabJosha MacNab

Regional Director, British Columbia

sustainable community development • energy efficiency and renewable energy • climate policy for communities • federal and provincial policy implications • Green Building Leaders • community-based environmental advocacy

Bio - Josha MacNab

To some, "climate change" is a big, complicated issue that seems hard to solve. To Josha MacNab it's all about thinking locally and coming up with new and innovative solutions to engage communities in saving energy, producing clean energy and reducing emissions.

As the the Pembina Institute's regional director for British Columbia, Josha works to help local governments and communities understand emissions, green their buildings and develop energy plans that help them reduce emissions and energy use.

"Municipalities are often miles ahead of provincial and federal governments on issues of sustainability and are able to implement the types of solutions that result in real changes long before a province, or the federal government," says Josha.

With this in mind Josha helped develop the Green Building Leaders project: a coalition of forward-thinking communities that share ideas with each other and the province of British Columbia to advocate for policies that dramatically reduce energy use and emissions from buildings.

To Josha sustainability means more then reducing reliance on fossil fuels: "One of the words I like to use instead of sustainability is healthy," she says. "We think of sustainable communities as places where the air is clean, the water is fresh, there are plenty of opportunities for recreation, necessities are within walking distance, buildings use energy efficiently, people have healthy working environments and the economy is strong and resilient to future changes."

Josha has worked with many communities including Dawson Creek, B.C. a city that has created a community energy plan, invested in local renewable energy production, developed a vehicle purchasing plan and even crafted a Planning for People website for its residents to learn about living sustainably.

In her spare time Josha is learning to fly on the trapeze. "My partner Sam grew up in Montreal and in Quebec, where Cirque du Soleil comes from, and it's pretty common for people there to take circus lessons. It turns out there were lessons offered five minutes from our house in Vancouver, so that's what we're doing!"


  • Josha is co-author of Green Economy Series of fact sheets, including The Business of Climate ChangePutting a Price on Climate Pollution and Walking the Green Talk.
  • Josha has published many client reports assessing various aspects of sustainability in communities. She has also published numerous public fact sheets and reports: click to see a list.
  • She is currently coordinator of the Green Building Leaders project, working with B.C. communities to improve energy performance standards and renewable energy requirements for buildings.
  • Josha is an expert on energy and policy planning for communities and has worked with many communities to help them understand where they are using energy, the climate change impacts of that use and how they can plan to reduce energy use.
  • Her early career experience in environmental education coupled with her on-the-ground experience helping communities wrestle with sustainability has helped Josha become an engaging speaker with practical experience behind her.
  • Josha holds two bachelor's degrees, one in history and another in environmental education, as well as a Master of Resource Management from Simon Fraser University.

Matt HorneMatt Horne

Associate Regional Director, British Columbia

climate change policy (federal and provincial) • carbon pricing and taxes • B.C. energy policy • cap-and-trade • Liquified Natural Gas

Bio - Matt Horne

Matt Horne is an engineer and after working for years on technical solutions, he decided he wanted to shift gears to apply his problem solving skills to the big challenges in the world. That's where the Pembina Institute came in.

"I work on getting better climate change policy in Canada. We work with businesses and communities to share perspectives and figure out solutions we can collectively support," explains Matt.

Matt's been on the front lines of the climate change issue in B.C. for a number of years, but he's also had plenty of experience working on sustainable energy solutions on the ground. He's worked with 10 First Nations communities on community energy planning projects. One, the Douglas First Nation, no longer relies on diesel generators and is supplying electricity to the grid from the run-of-river hydro projects they've helped to develop.

Prior to joining the Institute, Matt worked extensively with energy-economy models on projects attempting to estimate the costs and benefits of climate change policy in Canada.

Matt has also worked with local governments in B.C., including Dawson Creek, Hudson's Hope and Bowen Island, mostly on greening their fleets and facilities and developing green building policies.

After hours you will find Matt "hanging out with my daughter and my partner — and right now that means a lot of trips to the playground," he says.


  • Matt is co-author of Recommendations for Quebec's draft cap-and-trade regulations, a review of Quebec's efforts to put a price on carbon, with concerns noted about effectiveness, fairness, and transparency.
  • He is author of Shale gas in British Columbia: Risks to B.C.'s climate action objectives, which provides an overview of the greenhouse gas emissions produced by British Columbia's natural gas sector.
  • His report Measuring the appetite for climate action in British Columbia described poll results showing that British Columbians support carbon taxes and are confident that taking action to reduce greenhouse gas pollution will help grow, or have little or no impact on, the provincial economy.
  • Matt is the author or co-author of a number of other Pembina reports; click here for a complete list.
  • He sat on B.C. provincial government's green energy advisory task force, and on energy planning committees for BC Hydro and FortisBC.
  • Matt has given numerous presentations to B.C.'s budget committee, mostly on carbon taxes and ways of using the revenue.
  • Matt holds a Bachelor of Engineering from Dalhousie University and a Master of Resource and Environmental Management from Simon Fraser University.

Penelope ComettePenelope Comette

Program Director, Clean Energy Economy

corporate sustainability • embedding sustainability in corporate culture • change management • ethical finance • reducing greenhouse gas emissions

Bio – Penelope Comette

Penelope Comette is an experienced management consultant with a passion for sustainability and over 10 years of experience managing projects and developing strategies for a wide range of industries including insurance, high tech and health care. Her expertise lies in managing and mentoring project teams, change management, and strategic development.

But for Penelope, helping companies improve their bottom line wasn't enough. A few years ago she hired a personal coach and carried out extensive research and decided to use her skills to help companies pursue sustainability, or social, environmental and economic goals at the same time.

"I work with companies to lower their impact on the environment and help make sure they are wearing a more sustainable hat," says Penelope.

"Companies exist to make a profit and so good solutions must appreciate that context. So it's trying to look at what their strategic priorities are and leverage social and environmental actions or policies to help them forward their business."

Penelope enjoys working with a range of different clients, from large to small, and in different areas across Canada. "I like working with people who want to make a difference, who are also on that same committed path. I also like working with great people, which I get to do at Pembina," says Penelope.

Penelope holds an MBA (in marketing and finance) from the University of British Columbia, BA (Honours) in political science from the University of Western Ontario and has her Six Sigma green belt from PriceWaterhouse Coopers LLP.

Penelope enjoys speaking about changing corporate culture and ethical finance and the integration of sustainability into a company's formula for success.

In her personal life, Penelope is a mother of two, who like so many other parents, helps sell Brownie cookies to help support her childrens' programs. Penelope also enjoys skiing and hiking in the local mountains around Vancouver.


  • Penelope was an Associate of Canadian Business for Social Responsibility where she carried out corporate consulting on sustainability including community investment strategies, greenhouse gas (GHG) inventories and reduction strategies, stakeholder engagement strategies, corporate social responsibility (CSR) or sustainable development (SD) strategies and target development, CSR performance assessments, CSR reporting strategies and assessments, and co-hosted work shops on sustainability leadership and socially responsible investment.
  • Her management consulting experience with large companies includes work with Dell Ventures, Vancouver Coastal Health, Manulife, Price Waterhouse Coopers, Toyota Credit Canada Inc, Famous Players, The Bechtel Group, and many other financial organizations.
  • She is certified in the AA1000 stakeholder engagement standard and has worked on embedding best practice stakeholder engagement.
  • Penelope holds a Six Sigma Green Belt (a methodology for achieving quality management and continuous improvement).

David DodgeDavid Dodge

Host/Producer of Green Energy Futures

net-zero homes • renewable energy success stories • energy efficiency success stories • renewable energy in the media • solar • wind • biomass • biogas • geothermal

Bio – David Dodge

David Dodge is the host and producer of the Green Energy Futures multimedia series that tells the stories of green energy pioneers who are advancing green energy solutions in their homes, businesses or communities.

David is the former communications director of the Pembina Institute and has spent 25 years sharing the plight and beauty of the environment with anyone who will listen. He spent seven years as an award winning news photographer and columnist with the St. Albert Gazette. He served as the first executive director of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society in Alberta, the founding editor of Borealis Magazine and the host and producer of more than 350 CKUA radio programs on sustainability, climate change and the environment.

David was the production manager for Lone Pine Publishing and had the pleasure of overseeing the design and production of many books including: Birds of Alberta by Chris Fisher and John Acorn, Dawn Hanna's Best Hikes and Walks of Southwestern BC, the revised Canadian Rockies Access Guide and many more titles. David was also the project manager for, phase I and has worked on a number of environmental education projects over the years.  



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