Ángel Galán Martín


Impacts from human activities are exceeding the Earth?s carrying capacity, which may lead to irreversible changes posing a serious threat to future human well-being and the environment. There is no doubt that an urgent shift is needed for sustainability, which calls for effective solutions when facing ongoing and emerging sustainability challenges. Against this background, this thesis focuses on two key structural transformations needed to reconnect the human development to sustained progress: the ?food security transformation?, through decoupling the intensification of agricultural production from unsustainable use of resources; and the ?clean energy transformation?, supporting the transition towards a more environmentally friendly economy. Methodologically, different sustainability issues are tackled by developing systematic mathematical programming tools aiming at supporting sustainable decision and policy-making which ultimately will lead to the development of more efficient mechanisms to foster a sustainable development.
This thesis includes four major contributions in the form of decision and policy- support tools which are flexible and practical enough to address different case studies towards a more sustainable agriculture and energy future. First, a multi-objective tool is proposed which allows allocating cropping areas simultaneously maximizing the production and minimizing the environmental impact on ecosystems and resources. Second, a multi-period model is proposed which allows determining optimal cropping plans and effective subsidies to promote agricultural practices beneficial to the climate and the environment. Third, a novel methodology tailored to perform sustainability assessments is proposed which allows evaluating multi-criterion systems and providing improvements targets for such systems according to sustainability principles. Fourth, an optimised cooperative approach is proposed to promote and strengthen international cooperation in the fight against climate change.
Research-based work as the one proposed herein may play a major role in the transition towards a new era where the economy, society and the environment coexist as key pillars of sustainable development.