Burning Questions
Fellowship Award Winners

Matthew N. Hayek

Location: United States
Academic field: Environmental science and engineering
Award category: PhD Holder

Guidance Memo

  • Title: “Underestimates of US emissions and global implications for industrializing animal agriculture”
  • Keywords: GHG emissions. Industrial-scale food animal production. Extensive animal agriculture systems.
  • DOI: 10.15868/socialsector.36458
  • What We Learned From It:
    • Will intensifying animal agriculture significantly limit global GHG emissions as many experts and policy-makers believe?
    • Probably not. One key reason is that animal emissions are estimated using complex models, and these models contain multiple errors that often go unreported. And one should be careful not to jump to the conclusion that extensive, pastoral systems is the perfect answer.


Some of the Things We Really Liked when We Read the Application

  • One of the most potent claims that is often used to justify operating animal agriculture on an industrial scale and which front-line persons have a hard time refuting is that “sustainable intensification” causes less climate change impacts than raising animals in other ways. The Guidance Memo aims to show that this may not always be true. It “will use clear, non-technical language to show how rarely-discussed atmospheric measurements can cast doubt on widely-accepted modeled estimates of GHG emissions, and what the implications are for the expansion of industrial animal agriculture in many countries”.
  • Synthesis of relevant scientific literature for front-line persons is very valuable.

What Hayek says about the award:
“I applied for the Tiny Beam Fund fellowship because it was a rare opportunity to help deepen scientific understanding for people working toward more sustainable and humane food systems, allowing my research to make a tangible impact. The fellowship is also structured to support ongoing research activities for investigators. Few opportunities as robust as this exist that can empower stakeholders with that knowledge directly, while simultaneously advancing scientific discourse.” (Matthew Hayek)

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