Taming the energy beast

first_imgWhile officials from many nations gather in Copenhagen to debate further action against climate change, Harvard University is taking action on its own.Last year the University pledged to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions 30 percent by 2016, inclusive of growth, with 2006 as a baseline year.Meeting the ambitious goal “is both urgent and difficult,” said Harvard University President Drew Faust, who appointed a task force on greenhouse gas reduction in 2007. Such reductions “are not just Harvard issues,” she said earlier this year. “They are part of the national agenda.”Greenhouse gases, primarily carbon dioxide and methane, contribute to global warming by trapping heat in earth’s atmosphere. Perhaps 40 percent of the emissions are tied to making the energy required for lighting, heating, and cooling buildings.On Monday (Dec. 14), Harvard released its first data on the University’s progress toward meeting the pledge. In fiscal 2006-09, greenhouse gas emissions dropped 10 percent University-wide. With growth factored in, that reduction is about 5 percent.The cuts came from energy-efficiency projects in buildings, more than half from efficiency improvements at Harvard’s Blackstone energy plant and its new chilled-water plants.According to Thomas E. Vautin, Harvard’s acting vice president for administration, greenhouse gas emissions at the Blackstone plant have already dropped by 28 percent as a result of improvements. These include changing the primary fuel source to natural gas, and installing a new steam boiler, as well as a high-efficiency combined heat and power generating system.“These are smart choices that will have a long-term positive impact on the environment and the cost of our operations,” said Katherine Lapp, Harvard’s new executive vice president. She will oversee the implementation of the University’ greenhouse gas reduction plan.Click image for full view (graphic by Gervis A. Menzies Jr./Harvard Staff)The bulk of future emissions reductions will have to come from greater energy efficiency in Harvard’s buildings, said Heather Henriksen, director of Harvard’s Office for Sustainability (OFS).Mostly, that means optimizing building operations, especially when occupants are not present, as well as deploying conservation measures. But it also means behavioral changes, like shutting fume hoods, turning off computers, switching off lights, and setting what Henriksen called “other pragmatic defaults.”In November, each Harvard School and unit completed comprehensive draft plans for greenhouse gas reductions — blueprints for how they can meet the 30 percent goal, and for how much money. Once finalized, those plans will be incorporated into a master policy for University-wide reductions.OFS spearheaded an implementation planning process that included a Harvard University Greenhouse Gas Executive Committee and targeted working groups. The idea was to streamline the assessment process and to convene the Schools and units so they could share best practices.The executive committee co-chairs are Jeremy Bloxham, dean of science at Harvard’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences; Robert S. Kaplan, professor of management practice at the Harvard Business School; and Lapp.The task force — about 200 staff members, faculty, administrators, and students — met regularly this year in five working groups: finance, building efficiency and demand management, energy supply, greenhouse gas inventory, and communications and engagement.The initial infrastructure is now in place, said Kaplan, including an updated methodology to inventory greenhouse gas emissions and a common framework for cost-benefit analysis. “OFS ran a collaborative process, and the working groups, comprised of School and unit leaders, created alignment across the University,” Kaplan said. “We now have a much more integrated assessment of the University, and we are moving forward to create and implement an effective University-wide plan.”In a mid-year meeting with working group members, Faust listened to updates. Afterward, she said the collaboration should be a model for future action at Harvard and other universities.“This is not just a set of solutions to one of the most important problems we face on the planet,” she said, but a way to “attack” other big issues that require large-scale cooperation.A sixth working group, with heavy participation from the faculty, will start meeting early in the new year. It will analyze options for closing gaps in the goals over time. Not every school may be able to meet the 30 percent goal by 2016, said Henriksen, so backup solutions are needed to help make up the difference.Among other strategies, the “gaps” working group will look at creative options, including Renewable Energy Credits, energy from renewable sources, and investing in local carbon offset projects.A Student Advisory Group, made up of 50 students from each of Harvard’s 10 Schools, will approach greenhouse gas emissions from a student perspective. The group will report its recommendations by the end of the spring semester.In addition, Harvard adopted a University-wide temperature policy designed to reduce energy use. It was designed with attention to human health and comfort and to legal codes. Helping in its creation was John “Jack” Spengler, Akira Yamaguchi Professor of Environmental Health and Human Habitation at the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH).Harvard’s Schools and units have completed basic energy audits for most buildings and are midway through comprehensive audits to be completed by 2011. (The University manages 26 million square feet of space in 700 buildings.) At the same time, the University has also completed audits of its central steam and chilled-water plants for energy conservation.As University buildings are more efficiently heated, cooled, and lighted, more of Harvard’s reduction in greenhouse gases will depend on individual action and on reducing energy demand, said Henriksen. Her office oversees programs on changing behavior in offices, classrooms, dormitories, and laboratories.These are values already “held very deeply” at Harvard, Faust said, and there are signs she is right. Since 2007, more than 15,000 Harvard staffers, students, and faculty have signed a sustainability pledge, which is renewed each year.Harvard also has the highest recycling rate in the Ivy League at 55 percent, gets about 16 percent of its electricity from renewable sources, and has 66 LEED-certified or registered projects, the most of any institution of higher education. (LEED, a U.S. system of green-building standards, stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.)“Energy use varies widely across the University, from energy-dense laboratories to offices to student houses, each posing very different challenges in reducing our emissions,” said Bloxham, who is also Mallinckrodt Professor of Geophysics and a professor of computational science. He praised the collaborative ethic of the working groups, as well as the OFS planning.When it comes to greenhouse gas emissions, said Bloxham, “the problem belongs to all of us.”To view a snapshot of Harvard’s emission reductions.last_img read more

Vermont captive insurance regulator Raymond to be replaced by Bigglestone

first_imgPeter Raymond, a fixture in Vermont’s captive insurance industry for 22 years, has announced his plans to leave his state regulatory position and take a job outside of the captive insurance sector.Raymond, the Director of Captive Insurance for the Vermont Department of Banking, Insurance, Securities & Health Care Administration (BISHCA), will be replaced by Sandy Bigglestone, a 13-year veteran with the Captive Insurance Division.”On behalf of the people of Vermont I want to thank Peter for his service to the state, and wish him well,” said Governor Jim Douglas. “Peter has been an important part of our success in the captive industry, and leaves the division well-positioned to continue that tradition.”As the Director of Captive Insurance, Bigglestone will be responsible for organizing and directing the operations of the examination and analysis section of the Captive Insurance Division, which is led by Deputy Commissioner for Captive Insurance David Provost.”While we will obviously miss Peter, Vermont continues to have the most experienced, credentialed and able captive regulatory staff in the country, if not the world,” said Provost. “Our team will maintain the regulatory continuity and momentum of the Captive Division.”Raymond, who received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Lyndon State College, is a Certified Financial Examiner and Certified Public Accountant who served on the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) Risk Retention Group Task Force; the NAIC Financial Examinations Handbook Risk Retention Group Subgroup; and the Captive Regulators’ Advisory Council for the International Center For Captive Insurance Education.He will leave state government on July 16th to become a contract examiner and consultant for the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund.”It has been a pleasure to serve the State of Vermont, and one of the things I am thankful for is that I can continue to live in this wonderful state while traveling around the country in my new position,” Raymond said.Bigglestone, who graduated from Southern New Hampshire University with a BS in accounting, is a Certified Public Accountant and a Certified Financial Examiner. She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, Vermont Society of Certified Public Accountants; and the Society of Financial Examiners, where she also serves on the Board of Governors.Prior to her promotion, Bigglestone was the Director of Financial Examinations; Chief Examiner; Assistant Chief Examiner; Examiner-in-Charge; and Insurance Examiner with the division, and spent three years in public accounting and two years working in the accounting department of a medical center.”I am looking forward to continuing the Vermont Captive Division’s tradition of firm, fair and predictable regulation for the captives domiciled in our state,” Bigglestone said.A captive insurer is a company that is owned or controlled by its policyholders, thereby enhancing the parent company’s ability to control its own insurance costs. Through captives, businesses have access to broader, less expensive insurance markets.Vermont has constructed what is considered to be the “gold standard” of regulatory systems to ensure the solvency of captives while recognizing the special purposes for which they were formed, and the state licensed 39 new captive insurance companies in 2009 as it approaches the 900-license milestone.Vermont is the largest captive insurance domicile in the U.S. and the third largest in the world, with gross written premium estimated for 2009 in excess of $20 billion. Forty-two of the Fortune 100 have Vermont-based captives, and 18 of the companies that make up the Dow 30 have Vermont captives. www.VermontCaptive.com(link is external)Source: BISHCA. 6.10.2010last_img read more

Canada – Marijuana Bill Legalizes Pot for 12 to 18-year-olds

first_imgReal Women of Canada March 2018Bill C-45 legalizing the recreational use of marijuana passed the House of Commons on November 27th 2017 and was sent to the Senate, the following day, November 28th 2017. When passed, Canada will be only the second nation in the world after Uruguay to fully legalize this dangerous drug.Bill C-45 is a monstrous bill which will have a devastating effect on Canadian families and Canadian society. The most troubling effect of the bill is that it permits 12-18 year old young people to have access to marijuana.This is the case despite Prime Minister Trudeau’s repeated false assertions that the bill “…is to protect our kids. Right now we know that young people have easier access to marijuana than just about any other illicit substance. It’s easier to buy a joint for a teenager than it is to buy a bottle of beer. That’s not right.”The Liberal Party website also states that one the purposes of legalizing marijuana, “is to ensure we keep marijuana out of the hands of children…”Section 7(a) & (b) of the bill states the purpose of the bill:(a) Protect the health of young persons by restricting their access to cannabis;(b) Protect young persons and others from inducements to use cannabis;The provisions of the bill however, directly contradict its stated objective of keeping the drug away from children. This is based on the fact that Section 2 of the Bill defines “young person” as an individual who is “between 12-18 years of age.”Section 8 (1) (c) of the bill provides: that a “young person” may possess 5 grams of marijuana (or ten joints).And Section 9 (1) (b) provides: that a young person may distribute up to 5 grams of marijuana (or ten joints).Finally Section 12 (4) (b) provides: that private homes may grow up to 4 marijuana plants without legal sanction.Consequently the bill clearly provides that individuals between 12 to 18 years of age may freely possess, use, and even share marijuana up to 5 grams at a time (10 joints) There is absolutely no recourse if a minor is seen carrying, using, or handing out marijuana. A child can literally take ten joints from his parents’ stash, hand it out to his friends, go back home, take another ten, hand them out and keep doing it as often as he wants. This will deeply affect school environments and our neighbourhoods.Marijuana is HarmfulScientific evidence indicates that marijuana is a danger to public health. The harm caused by marijuana is listed on the website of Health Canada. The Canadian Medical Association, the Quebec Association of Psychiatrists, and Pediatricians Alliance of Ontario have warned that the human brain continues to develop until 25 years of age and marijuana use gravely stunts the development of adolescents.Why is the Federal government pushing for the legalization of Marijuana?Justin Trudeau unthinkingly blurted out during the 2015 federal election, that his party would legalize marijuana, without his understanding what a complex undertaking it would be. He did so to obtain the millennial vote.What began as a political or ideological issue has now become an incredible profit-making industry. The money of George Soros and other billionaires has fueled  organizations in many countries, including Canada, to successfully push for this legalization. The initial ideological push on marijuana has now been dwarfed by the gold-rush of capitalists pushing it. According to the Globe and Mail (February 1st 2018) the legalization of recreational marijuana could give raise to a domestic consumer market between $8-$9 billon per annum.The NDP government of BC handed down its budget on February 23rd 2018 in which it conservatively estimated that the province will take in $50 million dollars in the current fiscal year in marijuana sales once marijuana is legalized later this year, and $75 million in 2019-2020. Quebec’s financial minister estimated that his province would receive $60 million annually from the sale of marijuana.That is, the role of money is now central to the spread of marijuana legalization. Pro-marijuana propaganda is flooding the media in order to indoctrinate and habituate the public to use marijuana for the financial benefit of marijuana entrepreneurs and governments on the federal and provincial levels.Further, although the provinces in December 2017, reached a deal with the federal government to keep the price of marijuana low to drive out the illegal black market, this is not going to happen. Police, experts and experience all indicate that the black market always undercuts legal marijuana sales. For example the black market has not gone away in Colorado, Oregon or Washington State since marijuana was legalized there for its recreational use. Keeping down marijuana sales by criminals is a fantasy.READ MORE: http://www.realwomenofcanada.ca/marijuana-bill-legalizes-pot-12-18-year-olds/Keep up with family issues in NZ. Receive our weekly emails direct to your Inbox.last_img read more