A former uranium geologist with Plateau Resources and coal geologist at the U.S. Geological Survey, David Lawrence went on to serve for nearly 30 years in several executive positions at various divisions of Shell, including executive vice president of global exploration for Royal Dutch Shell and executive vice president of exploration and commercial for Shell Upstream Americas. Currently, David Lawrence utilizes his extensive experience in geology, business and energy resource exploration as chairman of the Yale Climate & Energy Institute (YCEI) External Advisory Board. Focused on activities that facilitate the global community’s adaptation of its economic, energy, and social systems to the consequences of environmental change, YCEI operates research efforts such as the Climate System and Human Health Initiative (CSHHI).
Leading up to the CSHHI’s establishment, YCEI had recognized a lack of investment committed to investigating the potential connection between the emergence of new patterns of disease infection in recent decades and increases in climate change over this same period. Though various predictive models used to simulate overall climate change generally achieve concordant results, there is considerable disparity in the forecasts for climate alteration in particular regions. Since effective future planning for human health will require an understanding of which specific health threats will affect which areas, the CSHHI concentrates on joining human health and climate science research to extend the study of these uncertainties.
The mechanisms by which public health issues created by anthropogenic climate forcing will be addressed by CSHHI via a network of research collaborations across relevant disciplines. There will also open forums through which findings on climate change-related health threats can be discussed with policymakers and members of the public. The research of climate scientists on developments ranging from Arctic hydrologic cycles to carbon sequestration and geoengineering will be considered alongside studies on the climate-influenced determinants of disease, from vector-borne and animal-transmitted pathologies to chronic illnesses like asthma.