David Lawrence is a respected presence in the energy field who has held leadership responsibilities in Texas and Europe with Shell Upstream Americas and Royal Dutch Shell. Currently the CEO and chairman of Lawrence Energy Group, David Lawrence also served as Chairman of the advisory board for the Yale Climate and Energy Institute, which studies energy transition issues and driving mechanisms and effects of global warming and climate change.
One region currently being impacted by climate change is the Peruvian tropical Andes. With potatoes and corn a dietary staple, a changing climate dictates that farming practices may need to be dramatically rethought.
Tropical biologists recently conducted a study which found that temperature increases of between 1.3 and 2.6 degrees Celsius would result in mass death of corn crops from pests and birds. One solution is to plant the crops at higher elevations, but this appears to reduce corn yield significantly.
The potato, on the other hand, with more than 4,000 native varieties in existence, is already being farmed on Peruvian mountaintops. While the potatoes would survive the projected temperature increase, tuber production would decrease and be deformed to such a point where its market value would be negligible.
The need to analyze and rethink agricultural practices comes at a time when food insecurity is a pressing issue in much of the developing world and disruption to the status quo can have potential serious repercussions.
A longtime executive with Shell Upstream Americas and Royal Dutch Shell, David Lawrence supported a number of educational initiatives, including the Imperial Barrel Award and the Military Veterans Scholarship Program, sponsored by the American Association of Petroleum Geologists. Since leaving Shell, David Lawrence has established the Lawrence Energy Group LLC and serves as chairman of the Yale Climate and Energy Institute External Advisory Board. Mr. Lawrence writes frequently on energy and environmental issues at http://lawrence1energy.blogspot.com.
As one personal project, he set in place a simple “do-it-yourself” carbon tax. The purpose of this carbon tax is twofold: First, to reduce one’s personal carbon emissions and, second, to save money or tax one’s use to support environmental groups. This five-step project begins with using free online calculators to determine one’s personal CO2 footprint, in tons per year.
From there, an achievable carbon-reduction target is set; Mr. Lawrence selected 10 percent in the first year. There are numerous online resources for specific CO2-reduction strategies, ranging from carpooling to using more efficient home-heating methods.
The third step involves setting in place a carbon price; former U.S. Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers suggested $25 per ton. As the U.S. average annual emission is 17 tons per capita, this might work out to $400-$500.
The last two steps have to do with how to use the money raised, both in reduced energy costs and from your self-tax. This can involve investing in sustainability-focused organizations and companies and in supporting institutions dedicated to ending energy poverty around the globe.
In 2013, David Lawrence transitioned from his role as an executive with Shell Upstream Americas and the head of Gobal Exploration for Royal Dutch Shell to become the chairman and CEO of Lawrence Energy Group, Director of Stone Energy Corporation and Chairman of the Advisory Board of the Yale Climate and Energy Institute. During his tenure with Shell, David Lawrence contributed to a number of important natural gas projects, such as the Repsol liquefied natural gas (LNG) acquisition, which helped advance the company’s commitment to cultivating natural gas resources.
Shell states that more than 30 percent of energy-related carbon dioxide emissions are a result of electricity generation, and notes that reducing emissions from this industry is crucial to preventing extensive climate change. The company asserts that by switching from coal to natural gas, energy producers could reduce power plants’ CO2 emissions by about 50 percent.
Utilizing additional gas for electricity production could have a significant impact on the efforts of countries working to meet emission reduction goals, according to the industry giant. To accommodate rising demand for natural gas, Shell leads various production efforts, including extracting gas from dense rock and transforming natural gas into a liquefied form that is easier to ship.
Before embarking on his career with Royal Dutch Shell, David Lawrence earned a Ph.D. in geology from Yale. David Lawrence brings a wealth of knowledge gained from executive roles at Shell to his position on the advisory board for the Yale Climate & Energy Institute (YCEI). YCEI aims to advance understanding of the Earth’s energy resources and climate systems.
The institute supports interdisciplinary climate and energy research conducted by faculty, graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows. One program, the Climate System and Human Health Initiative, focuses on climate changes caused by human activity and how those changes may affect human health. Another initiative, high-resolution climate assessments, studies the potential impacts of global warming on vulnerable regions in the Northeastern United States, the Arabian Peninsula, and Africa. YCEI also has a research initiative focused on unconventional hydrocarbon resources.
Through these research programs, YCEI is creating a plan for Yale to adapt to expected climate change over the next 50 to 100 years. In addition, YCEI is providing insight on practical solutions to help the world address the challenges of climate change while meeting global energy demands.
A longtime energy professional who filled several senior executive roles for Shell Oil Company and Royal Dutch She'll and its various affiliates worldwide, David Lawrence founded and chairs the Lawrence Energy Group. Committed to energy and renewables, David Lawrence served as Shell’s executive vice president for exploration and commercial and was responsible for the company’s wind business.
The climate change debate is hampered by the fact that most people are not aware of their own carbon emissions; likewise, they often do not see any real value other than satisfaction from taking steps to reduce that footprint. David Lawrence’s Carbon Price Challenge is designed to cut carbon emissions, save energy and money, support innovation and clean energy, and support the reduction of energy poverty worldwide. It provides tools to measure the cost of emissions and the dollar value of conservation efforts.
The challenge involves, first, using one of several online calculators to determine your own annual carbon emissions in tons. Next, establish goals for reducing that footprint, preferably for both the short and the long term. For the sake of comparison, it is estimated that the average annual emissions are about 17 tons per person.
The third step is to calculate your own carbon tax based on those emissions. Although the range used by individuals and companies for this purpose is broad, $25 per ton is a reasonable amount. The average person would thus pay an annual carbon tax of about $425. The fourth step, which can also be done with the online calculators, is to develop a plan to reduce your emissions.
The next step of the challenge is to invest the self-imposed tax in clean energy solutions in one of three ways:
1. Invest directly in enterprises that make and sell products and services that reduce consumers’ carbon footprints.
2. Purchase products and services that reduce your own carbon footprint.
3. Contribute to organizations that conduct research into clean energy.
Step five calls for contributing to organizations like the Ashden Trust, SolarAid, and GRID Alternatives, which work to end what Lawrence calls energy poverty.
Utilizing decades of experience as a geologist and business leader, David Lawrence formerly held the position of executive vice president with Shell Upstream Americas in Houston with responsibilities including exploration.