Lowering our Carbon Footprint, Rafael Silva – May 2016

Lowering Your Carbon Footprint

Rafael Silva on Lowering your Carbon Footprint

Rafael Silva is a math guy.  Most of us only do math because we have to but not Rafael, he enjoys math and enjoys using it to do analysis, modeling and forecasting.  His very specific and particular interest is what we are discussing here.  Being a Brazilian citizen, Rafael wants to prove to Brazilians with mathematical modeling that they can use their some 200 million head of cattle to lower their carbon footprint as a country and as individuals using their cattle. 

In Rafael's research he has found that 80% of beef cattle production cost is due to feed.  In Brazil, 90% of cattle are finished in feedlots.  One of the things that Rafael and I discuss is how carbon credits could be used to help producers who adopt a carbon positive production model.  In the US, the idea of a carbon positive production model has been largely over looked due to some VERY BAD and errant studies that completely ignore carbon sequestration in production.  This is not only bad science it is disingenuous.  It is very easy to make the numbers prove your point when you leave out key factors like carbon sequestration in a carbon study.  Rafael is committed to including ALL the numbers and giving real results but his funding isn't tied to a corporation with an agenda like the previously mentioned study.  We need more researchers like Rafael that want real answers.  As a matter of fact, realizing that proper grazing strategies will improve soils and thus cause carbon sequestration was NOT a result he was looking for or expected.

So who is Rafael Silva? Rafael is undertaking a PhD titled ā€œModelling sustainable intensification in Brazilian agricultureā€ at the University of Edinburgh and Scotlandā€™s rural College (SRUC). Rafael holds a bachelor degree in Applied and Computational Mathematics (2010) and a Masters in Applied Mathematics (2013), both from the University of Campinas, Brazil. During his Masters Rafael worked for the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa) and for SRUC on the Animal Change project, which focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions from livestock production. Recently he was contacted by the Ministry of Agriculture in Brazil to provide analysis supporting the calculation of the livestock sectorā€™s contribution to Brazilā€™s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDCs) and published a paper in Nature Climate Change journal, the study shows that increasing beef production in Brazil could actually lower greenhouses gas emissions. His main interests are in modelling agricultural systems, particularly modelling the role of Brazilian livestock systems on deforestation and in climate change mitigation. 

Listen today to get a fresh perspective from a young man with a heart to help his country and in the process is helping us all in the cattle industry.

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