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The University Carbon Fund – Schools Battling Climate Change


University Carbon Fund pic

University Carbon Fund

A former executive at Shell, David Lawrence was involved in exploration, commercial development, and wind energy. The chief executive of Lawrence Energy Group, LLC, David Lawrence enjoys sharing perspectives and advice on energy and climate change issues.

Learning institutions can play a significant role in the reduction of carbon emissions. One way they can do this is by establishing a University Carbon Fund. Here’s how this works:

1. A university establishes baselines for its energy consumption and carbon dioxide emissions. Many universities have a sustainability office, which already has this information broken down to department or campus level. For those without one, faculty and students can work together to establish these figures. They can even make it a term project.

2. Set goals to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Have a clear cut strategy to do this. If your target is to reduce carbon emissions by 20 percent over the coming five years, have a target for each department or campus and a review calendar to assess the progress of each. Give the most attention to departments with higher carbon emissions.

3. Establish an energy-savings target and implement strategies to do so. This should complement your carbon-emissions reduction. Consider options such as solar energy, recycling, innovative building redesigning, and lower carbon-emitting travel options, such as walking or riding a bicycle.

4. Establish a price for carbon emissions, say $10-30 per ton of carbon dioxide. Start with a conservative figure before raising it progressively and aggressively. Save the funds received in a University Carbon Fund.

5. Use the funds in the carbon fund to invest in renewable energy companies or in improving the institution’s pool of renewable energy sources.

The Aspen Institute’s Energy and Environment Program

Aspen Institute pic

Aspen Institute

David Lawrence is Yale University-educated geologist and former Shell executive, who has applied his expertise to oil and gas supply and demand, as well as to furthering innovations in the energy industry. In addition to serving Shell for more than 30 years, David Lawrence has engaged with the Aspen Institute as a commissioner for the organization’s Commission on the Arctic. He also serves as chairman of Lawrence Energy Group.

The Aspen Institute is a nonpartisan policy organization and think tank headquartered in Washington, D.C. The organization, which maintains an international presence with several locations abroad, strives to foster and improve leadership through a value base, non-partisan approach. The institute operates a number of programs in support of this goal.

One such program is the Energy and Environment Program (EEP). Implemented in 1969 as the Program on the Environment and Quality of Life, the EEP provides a forum for policy making and dialogue regarding the energy and environmental sectors. The program brings together a diverse group of private- and public-sector professionals to advance the discussion around topics such as clean energy, shale and gas, the Arctic, and many others.

Yale Climate and Energy Institute

Yale Climate and Energy Institute pic

Yale Climate and Energy Institute

David Lawrence has years of experience in the energy industry, most notably during his time at Royal Dutch Shell and Shell Upstream Americas. From 2011 to 2016, David Lawrence shared the experience he gained at Shell, in academia and government with other industry and academic professionals through the advisory board of Yale Climate & Energy Institute (YCEI).

From 2009 until 2016, YCEI served as the hub of multidisciplinary research into climate and energy issues at Yale. The institute provided funds for postdoctoral fellows and research projects and hosted annual conferences alongside its student affiliates.

YCEI also fostered additional work with organizations and individuals outside of Yale, bringing business and government minds into the mix. A few of the major programs started by the institute include an examination of the effects of climate change on health, an interdisciplinary history project, and renewable energy studies.

In total, more than 80 faculty members were involved with YCEI while it operated, and it provided millions of dollars in research funding. YCEI closed at the end of June in 2016.

Research of the Yale Climate and Energy Institute


Yale Climate and Energy Institute pic

Yale Climate and Energy Institute

With a PhD in geology from Yale University, David Lawrence has over three decades of professional experience in the energy and oil exploration industry, including almost 30 years at Shell. Previously an executive vice president of Royal Dutch Shell and Shell Upstream Americas, David Lawrence Has also served academic institutions such as the Yale Climate and Energy Institute, on whose advisory board he served from 2011-2016.

Based in New Haven, Connecticut, the Yale Climate and Energy Institute served as a research center affiliated with Yale University. The institute focused on research that addresses climate change and the ways in which energy consumption affects the environment. Research at the institute drew on expertise in disciplines ranging from climate science and law to public health and urbanization. A variety of professionals were involved with the institute, including policy experts, engineers, architects, and physical and social scientists.

Studies at the institute have take several forms. In addition to funding seed grant research, the institute sponsors postdoctoral research and broader research initiatives. These initiatives include topics such as “Climate System and Human Health” and “Unconventional Hydrocarbon Resources and the Environment.”