David Harnesk

PhD Candidate


David Harnesk

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 as a response to climate change, especially with regards to how land dynamics in the South relate to energy regulation in the North. 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 is on the actors and mechanisms through which this regime is diffused outside EU territory in general, and how they influence land-use and political responses in Tanzania in particular. Through an iterative research process, I draw key lessons for climate change mitigation strategies in the North (which are particular due to the historically accumulated capital stock of nation states, for example, in the European Union).

Some of the major themes in my interdisciplinary research are:

  • Regulatory Capitalism
  • Ecological Modernization
  • Energy Geography
  • 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)
  • ‘Klimatförändringen, vetenskap och samhälle’ (MVEN15)
  • ‘Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science: Master’s Thesis’
  • ‘Governance of Sustainability’ (MESS34)
  • ‘Sustainable development from a local, regional and global perspective’ (SGEL49).
  • ‘Industriell miljöekonomi för miljövetare’ (MVEC14)
  • ‘Styrmedel för förebyggande miljöskydd’ (MVEN05)


Harnesk, D., & Brogaard, S. (2016). Social Dynamics of Renewable Energy—How the European Union’s Renewable Energy Directive Triggers Land Pressure in Tanzania. The Journal of Environment & Development, 1070496516681043. Available at: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/metrics/10.1177/1070496516681043

Harnesk, D. (2016). A Review of ‘Energy and Transport in Green Transition: Perspectives on Ecomodernity’. Challenges in Sustainability, 4(2), 15-16. Available at: http://www.librelloph.com/challengesinsustainability/article/view/cis-4.2.15

Harnesk D, Brogaard S, Peck P, Regulating a global value chain with the EU’s sustainability criteria – experiences from the Swedish liquid transport biofuel sector,  Journal of Cleaner Production  (2015), doi: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2015.09.039 Available at:

Mundaca, L. T., C. Dalhammar, D. Harnesk (2013) ‘The Integrated NORDIC Power Market and the Deployment of Renewable Energy Technologies: Key Lessons and Potential Implications for the Future ASEAN Integrated Power Market’ in Kimura, S., H. Phoumin and B. Jacobs (eds.), Energy Market Integration in East Asia: Renewable Energy and its Deployment into the Power System, ERIA Research Project Report2012-26, Jakarta: ERIA. pp.25-97. Available at:

Harnesk, D. (2012) ‘Effektivt beslutsfattande för energieffektiviseringar – en fallstudie av uppvärmningssystem inom vattenkraften.’ Master’s Thesis in Environmental Science. Lund, Sweden: Lund University. Available at:


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.

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