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David Harnesk

PhD Candidate - Member of LUCID Research School

Current Research

Climate change impacts trigger various responses. As an example, and based both on scientific knowledge and on public opinions to end fossil fuels, political regimes seek more actively to replace carbon-intense energy sources with renewable energy sources. In European energy policies much faith is now put into biomass-based alternatives, and on collaboration between state and market in the major transition.

In my thesis, I study certain political implications of this response to climate change, especially with regards to energy policy in North-South relations. More explicitly, I study the emerging global processes as seen in Tanzania, with the operationalizing of the European Union’s ‘regulatory regime’ on liquid biofuel production for transport as my point of entry. The main focus will be on the actors and mechanisms through which this regime spreads outside EU territory in general, and how they influence land use and political responses in Tanzania in particular. Through this research process, I will draw key lessons for climate change mitigation strategies in the North (which are particular due to the historically accumulated capital stock of nation states e.g. in the European Union).

Some of the major themes in my interdisciplinary research are:

  • Regulatory Capitalism
  • Ecological Modernization
  • Diffusion
  • Sustainability Standards
  • Global Value Chains


My academic background has mainly been within Environmental Science, graduating with both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree, where I focused on Energy and Environment, and Strategic Environmental Management. During my education, I combined this interest in human-environment interactions with my background in South-East Asian Studies, including a thesis on collaborations between local governments, universities and environmental movements in Kyoto, Japan. Through this academic journey, together with my time at LUCSUS, I developed a broad portfolio of perspectives, that include a diverse toolbox of theories, methodologies, and methods that I apply in research and non-academic writing.

Teaching and Supervision

Since 2012 I have been teaching and supervising students for undergraduate and master courses in a variety of courses at Lund University. These include:

  • ‘Energy and Sustainability’ (MESS09 – currently)
  • ‘Klimatförändringen, vetenskap och samhälle’ (MVEN15 – currently)
  • ‘Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science: Master’s Thesis’
    (MESM02 – currently)
  • ‘Governance of Sustainability’ (MESS34 – currently)
  • ‘Sustainable development from a local, regional and global perspective’ (SGEL49 – currently).
  • ‘Industriell miljöekonomi för miljövetare’ (MVEC14 – in past)
  • ‘Styrmedel för förebyggande miljöskydd’ (MVEN05 – in past)


Harnesk, D. 2016. Energy Regulation on the Move – the Expanding Economic Geography and Power of the International Sustainability & Carbon Certification. The Asian Conference on Sustainability, Energy and the Environment 2016, Kobe, June, 2016. Oral presentation.

Harnesk, D. 2015. What kind of, and whose, sustainability counts? – Implications of EU’s Renewable Energy Directive in sub-Saharan Africa. Biofuels and (ir)responsible innovation: tensions between policy, practice and sustainable development, Eindhoven, April, 2015. Oral Presentation.

Harnesk, D. 2014. Biofuel policy and stakeholder perspectives – initial impacts of EU sustainability criteria on the Swedish biofuels sector and implications for land use. GLP Second Open Science Meeting, Berlin, March, 2014. Oral Presentation.

Outreach Activities

Harnesk, D. & Brogaard, S. 2015. EUs hållbarhetskriterier, hur hållbara är de? Avslutningskonferens – Bränsleprogrammen, Stockholm, May, 2015. Poster presentation.

Harnesk, D. 2013. The EU Renewable Energy Directive and Sustainability Criteria for Biofuels – Sweden in a European and Global context. Klima- og energimesse, Helsingör, September, 2013. Poster presentation.



Page Manager:
David Harnesk
E-mail: david.harnesk [at]

Doctoral student

LUCSUS (Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies)

Wrangel, 210

Wrangel, Biskopsgatan 5, Lund


P.O. Box 170, SE-222 70 Lund, Sweden
Phone: +46(0)46- 222 80 81
info [at]