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David Harnesk

PhD in Sustainability Science

Research Interests

My research focuses on energy and geography in the context of climate change, often from the perspective that a socially just and deep decarbonization as a desirable social goal. I approach these diverse nature-society interactions through problem-driven interdisciplinary science, mainly drawing on geography, sociology and natural science, such as thermodynamics, to develop solutions-oriented research outcomes.

My PhD focused on the North-South dynamics in the geographies of transport energy: the case of EU biofuels. Within a sustainability science frame, I drew on critical realism, emancipatory social science, and a mixed methods approach to examine the complex interdependencies of energy and geography across three interconnected analytical domains: geopolitics, energy markets and energy landscapes. My thesis provided a systematic diagnosis and critique of the main social and environmental claims of EU biofuel regulation, to later proceed and discuss alternatives and transformation that could address the concerns raised in the critique. You can find my dissertation here, its English press release here, and its Swedish press release here.

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:

  • Climate, Science and Society
  • Gender and Sustainability in Theory and Everyday Life
  • Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science: Master’s Thesis
  • Energy and Sustainability
  • Governance of Sustainability
  • Economy and Sustainability
  • Social Science Lab
  • Methods for Climate Risk Management
  • Sustainable development from a local, regional and global perspective
  • Environmental Science: Industrial Environmental Economics
  • Environmental Science: Instruments for preventative environmental protection


Boda C., Faran T., Harnesk, D., Isgren E., and O'Byrne D. 2018 (upcoming). Structuralist vs Agent-based Approach to Environmental Sustainability – A possible resolution to a polarized debate. 2nd International Conference in Contemporary Social Sciences, Crete, June, 2018. Upcoming oral presentation.

Harnesk, D. & Isgren, E. 2018. Envisioning Real Sustainability: enriching sustainability science with emancipatory social science. AAG Annual Meeting, New Orleans, April, 2018.

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.

Workshops and Outreach Activities


Lunds Universitet News & Press Releases 2018 EU biofuel regulation is not sustainable long-term. Lund, May, 2018.

Lunds Universitet Nyheter & Press 2018 EU:s biodrivmedelspolitik är inte hållbar. Lund, Maj, 2018

Nyhetsbrevet Apropå 2017 Storsatsningar på biodrivmedel skapar svårigheter för småjordbrukare. Lund, October, 2017.

Harnesk, D., Brogaard, S., Sjöberg, Ö. & Tambang, G. Y. 2017. Workshop om global handel med biomassa, Stockholm, September, 2017.

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



Retrieved from Lund University's publications database

Page Manager:
David Harnesk
David Harnesk
E-mail: david [dot] harnesk [at] lucsus [dot] lu [dot] se

Doctoral student

LUCSUS (Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies)

+46 46 222 80 82

Josephson, 112

Josephson, Biskopsgatan 5, Lund


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