Dr. Michael Pahle

Working Group Leader


Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)
T +49 (0)331 288 2465
P.O. Box 60 12 03
14412 Potsdam


Dr Michael Pahle is head of the working group “Climate and Energy Policy” at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK). He holds a PhD in economics from TU Berlin. His research focuses on emission trading systems, public support for carbon pricing, and regulatory frameworks to achieve net-zero. He is Principle Investigator on “European Climate and Energy Policy” in the BMBF Ariadne Project, Germany’s largest social science Energiewende research project.  Based on his research, Michael advises the German government and parliament, the EU Commission and the EU Parliament on the development, reform and extension of emission trading. He is a member of the consultative working group for the European Securities and Markets Authority 's (ESMA) Risk Comittee, and a member of the technical working group of the Global Carbon Pricing Challenge.

Michael collaborates with leading think tanks in the EU, including the European University Institute based in Florenz and Bruegel based in Brussels, and is a member of the Global Climate Policy Partnership, a US-based global network of research institutions to help major economies and businesses achieve ambitious climate goals. Michael’s work and views on climate policy have been covered in leading national and international media outlets, including FAZ, Spiegel, Süddeutsche, Zeit,  Handelsblatt, El País, Politiken,  Euractiv, Financial Times, Bloomberg, New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal.

Current working papers:
  • Darius Sultani, Sebastian Osorio, Claudia Günther, Michael Pahle, Katrin Sievert, Tobias S. Schmidt, Bjarne Steffen, Ottmar Edenhofer (2024). Sequencing Carbon Dioxide Removal into the EU ETS. CESifo Working Paper No. 11173.
  • Günther, Claudia and Pahle, Michael and Govorukha, Kristina and Osorio, Sebastian and Fotiou, Theofano, Carbon prices on the rise? Shedding light on the emerging EU ETS2 (April 26, 2024). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4808605
  • Schwarz, Antonia and Stünzi, Anna and Kaestner, Kathrin and Pahle, Michael and Sommer, Stephan, Tailored Information and the Public Support for Carbon Pricing (March 12, 2024). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4757636
  • Kaestner, Kathrin and Pahle, Michael and Schwarz, Antonia and Sommer, Stephan and Stünzi, Anna, Experts’ conjectures, people’s statements and true preferences: The case of carbon price support (July 13, 2023). USAEE Working Paper No. 23-591, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4509419
  • Pahle, Michael and Quemin, Simon and Osorio, Sebastian and Günther, Claudia and Pietzcker, Robert, The Emerging Endgame: The EU ETS on the Road Towards Climate Neutrality (February 28, 2023). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4373443
Articles in peer-reviewed journals:
  • Sitarz, J., Pahle, M., Osorio, S., Luderer, G., & Pietzcker, R. (2024). EU carbon prices signal high policy credibility and farsighted actors. Nature Energy. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41560-024-01505-x
  • Sgarciu, S., Müsgens, F., Osorio, S., & Pahle, M. (2023). Is Germany on track to achieve 2030 climate and energy targets? List Forum Für Wirtschafts- Und Finanzpolitik. https://doi.org/10.1007/s41025-023-00255-0
  • Abrell, J., Bilici, S., Blesl, M., Fahl, U., Kattelmann, F., Kittel, L., Kosch, M., Luderer, G., Marmullaku, D., Pahle, M., Pietzcker, R., Rodrigues, R., & Siegle, J. (2024). Optimal allocation of the EU carbon budget: A multi-model assessment. Energy Strategy Reviews, 51, 101271. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.esr.2023.101271
  • Borghesi, S., Pahle, M., Perino, G., Quemin, S., & Willner, M. (2023). The Market Stability Reserve in the EU Emissions Trading System: A Critical Review. Annual Review of Resource Economics, 15(1), 131–152. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-resource-111820-030145
  • Dolphin, G., Pahle, M., Burtraw, D., & Kosch, M. (2023). A net-zero target compels a backward induction approach to climate policy. Nature Climate Change, 13(10), 1033–1041. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41558-023-01798-y
  • Levesque, A., Osorio, S., Herkel, S., & Pahle, M. (2023). Rethinking the role of efficiency for the decarbonization of buildings is essential. Joule. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.joule.2023.05.011
  • Lonergan, K. E., Egli, F., Osorio, S., Sansavini, G., Pahle, M., Schmidt, T. S., & Steffen, B. (2023). Improving the representation of cost of capital in energy system models. Joule. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.joule.2023.02.004
  • Pahle, M. (2023). Pricing carbon for a fair and effective low-carbon road transport transition in the EU. One Earth. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.oneear.2022.12.005
  • Quemin, S., & Pahle, M. (2022). Financials threaten to undermine the functioning of emissions markets. Nature Climate Change. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41558-022-01560-w
  • Frondel, M., Gerster, A., Kaestner, K., Pahle, M., Schwarz, A., Singhal, P., & Sommer, S. (2022). Das Wärme- und Wohnen-Panel zur Analyse des Wärmesektors: Ergebnisse der ersten Erhebung aus dem Jahr 2021. Zeitschrift Für Energiewirtschaft, 46(3), 175–193. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12398-022-00328-1
  • Perino, G., Willner, M., Quemin, S., & Pahle, M. (2022). The European Union Emissions Trading System Market Stability Reserve: Does It Stabilize or Destabilize the Market? Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, 16(2), 338–345. https://doi.org/10.1086/721015
  • Sommer, S., Mattauch, L., & Pahle, M. (2022). Supporting carbon taxes: The role of fairness. Ecological Economics, 195, 107359. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolecon.2022.107359.
  • Singhal, P., Pahle, M., Kalkuhl, M., Levesque, A., Sommer, S., & Berneiser, J. (2022). Beyond good faith: Why evidence-based policy is necessary to decarbonize buildings cost-effectively in Germany. Energy Policy, 169, 113191. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enpol.2022.113191
  • Frondel, M., Helmers, V., Mattauch, L., Pahle, M., Sommer, S., Schmidt, C. M., & Edenhofer, O. (2022). Akzeptanz der CO2-Bepreisung in Deutschland: Die große Bedeutung einer Rückverteilung der Einnahmen. Perspektiven Der Wirtschaftspolitik. https://doi.org/10.1515/pwp-2021-0050
  • Pahle, M., Tietjen, O., Osorio, S., Egli, F., Steffen, B., Schmidt, T. S., & Edenhofer, O. (2022). Safeguarding the energy transition against political backlash to carbon markets. Nature Energy, 7(3), 290–296. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41560-022-00984-0
  • Tietjen, O., Lessmann, K., & Pahle, M. (2021). Hedging and temporal permit issuances in cap-and-trade programs: The Market Stability Reserve under risk aversion. Resource and Energy Economics, 63, 101214. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.reseneeco.2020.101214
  • Osorio, S., Tietjen, O., Pahle, M., Pietzcker, R. C., & Edenhofer, O. (2021). Reviewing the Market Stability Reserve in light of more ambitious EU ETS emission targets. Energy Policy, 158(May 2020), 112530. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enpol.2021.112530
  • Pahle, M., Schaeffer, R., Pachauri, S., Eom, J., Awasthy, A., Chen, W., di Maria, C., Jiang, K., He, C., Portugal-Pereira, J., Safonov, G., & Verdolini, E. (2021). The crucial role of complementarity, transparency and adaptability for designing energy policies for sustainable development. Energy Policy, 159, 112662. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enpol.2021.112662
  • Flachsland, C., Pahle, M., Burtraw, D., Edenhofer, O., Elkerbout, M., Fischer, C., Tietjen, O., & Zetterberg, L. (2020). How to avoid history repeating itself: the case for an EU Emissions Trading System (EU ETS) price floor revisited. Climate Policy, 20(1), 133–142. https://doi.org/10.1080/14693062.2019.1682494
  • Gambardella, C., Pahle, M., & Schill, W.-P. (2020). Do Benefits from Dynamic Tariffing Rise? Welfare Effects of Real-Time Retail Pricing Under Carbon Taxation and Variable Renewable Electricity Supply. Environmental and Resource Economics, 75(1), 183–213. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10640-019-00393-0
  • Osorio, S., Pietzcker, R. C., Pahle, M., & Edenhofer, O. (2020). How to deal with the risks of phasing out coal in Germany. Energy Economics, 87, 104730. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eneco.2020.104730
  • Steffen, B., Egli, F., Pahle, M., & Schmidt, T. S. (2020). Navigating the Clean Energy Transition in the COVID-19 Crisis. Joule, 1–5. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.joule.2020.04.011
  • Leipprand, A., Flachsland, C., & Pahle, M. (2020). Starting low, reaching high? Sequencing in EU climate and energy policies. Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions, 37, 140–155. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eist.2020.08.006
  • Schmidt, T. S., Steffen, B., Egli, F., Pahle, M., Tietjen, O., & Edenhofer, O. (2019). Adverse effects of rising interest rates on sustainable energy transitions. Nature Sustainability, 2(9), 879–885. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41893-019-0375-2
  • Pahle, M., Burtraw, D., Flachsland, C., Kelsey, N., Biber, E., Meckling, J., Edenhofer, O., & Zysman, J. (2018). Sequencing to ratchet up climate policy stringency. Nature Climate Change, 8(10), 861–867. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41558-018-0287-6
  • Gambardella, C., & Pahle, M. (2018). Time-varying electricity pricing and consumer heterogeneity: Welfare and distributional effects with variable renewable supply. Energy Economics, 76, 257–273. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eneco.2018.08.020
  • Schwerhoff, G., Kornek, U., Lessmann, K., & Pahle, M. (2017). Leadership in climate change mitigation: Consequences and incentives. Journal of Economic Surveys. https://doi.org/10.1111/joes.12203
  • Schill, W.-P., Pahle, M., & Gambardella, C. (2017). Start-up costs of thermal power plants in markets with increasing shares of variable renewable generation. Nature Energy, 2(6). https://doi.org/10.1038/nenergy.2017.50
  • Leipprand, A., Flachsland, C., & Pahle, M. (2017). Advocates or cartographers? Scientific advisors and the narratives of German energy transition. Energy Policy, 102. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enpol.2016.12.021
  • Leipprand, A., Flachsland, C., & Pahle, M. (2017). Energy transition on the rise: discourses on energy future in the German parliament. Innovation, 30(3). https://doi.org/10.1080/13511610.2016.1215241
  • Joas, F., Pahle, M., Flachsland, C., & Joas, A. (2016). Which goals are driving the Energiewende? Making sense of the German Energy Transformation. Energy Policy, 95, 42–51. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301421516301719
  • Steinbacher, K., & Pahle, M. (2016). Leadership and the Energiewende: German Leadership by Diffusion. Global Environmental Politics, 16(4), 70–89. https://doi.org/10.1162/GLEP_a_00377
  • Tietjen, O., Pahle, M., & Fuss, S. (2016). Investment risks in power generation: A comparison of fossil fuel and renewable energy dominated markets. Energy Economics, 58, 174–185. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eneco.2016.07.005
  • Pahle, M., Schill, W.-P., Gambardella, C., & Tietjen, O. (2016). Renewable energy support, Negative prices, and real-Time pricing. Energy Journal, 37(SpecialIssue3). https://doi.org/10.5547/01956574.37.SI3.mpah
  • Pahle, M., Pachauri, S., & Steinbacher, K. (2016). Can the Green Economy deliver it all? Experiences of renewable energy policies with socio-economic objectives. Applied Energy, 179. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apenergy.2016.06.073
  • Nahmmacher, P., Schmid, E., Pahle, M., & Knopf, B. (2016). Strategies against shocks in power systems – An analysis for the case of Europe. Energy Economics, 59. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eneco.2016.09.002
  • Pahle, M., & Schweizerhof, H. (2016). Time for Tough Love: Towards Gradual Risk Transfer to Renewables in Germany. Economics of Energy & Environmental Policy, 5(2). https://doi.org/10.5547/2160-5890.5.2.mpah
  • Knopf, B., Pahle, M., Kondziella, H., Joas, F., Edenhofer, O., & Bruckner, T. (2014). Germany’s Nuclear Phase-Out: Sensitivities and Impacts on Electricity Prices and CO2 Emissions. Economics of Energy and Environmental Policy, 3, 89–105. https://doi.org/10.5547/2160-5890.3.1.bkno
  • Schmid, E., Pahle, M., & Knopf, B. (2013). Renewable electricity generation in Germany: A meta-analysis of mitigation scenarios. Energy Policy, 61, 1151–1163. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.enpol.2013.06.105
  • Edenhofer, O., Hirth, L., Knopf, B., Pahle, M., Schlömer, S., Schmid, E., & Ueckerdt, F. (2013). On the economics of renewable energy sources. Energy Economics, 40, S12–S23. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eneco.2013.09.015
  • Pahle, M., Lessmann, K., Edenhofer, O., & Bauer, N. (2013). Investments in imperfect power markets under carbon pricing: A case study based analysis. Energy Journal, 34(4). https://doi.org/10.5547/01956574.34.4.10
  • Pahle, M., Fan, L., & Schill, W. P. (2011). How emission certificate allocations distort fossil investments: The German example. Energy Policy, 39(4), 1975–1987.
  • Pahle, M. (2010). Germany’s dash for coal: Exploring drivers and factors. Energy Policy, 38(7), 3431–3442.
Older working papers:
  • Pahle, M. & Edenhofer, O. (2021). Discretionary Intervention Destabilizes the EU Emissions Trading System: Evidence and Recommendations for a Rule-Based Cap Adjustment. CESifo Forum 22 (3), 41-46. https://www.cesifo.org/DocDL/CESifo-forum-2021-3-edenhofer-pahle-Discretionary-Intervention-Destabilizesthe-EU-Emissions-Trading-System.pdf
  • Mauer, E.-M., Okullo, S. J., & Pahle, M. Postponing Auctioning Versus Cancellation of Allowances in the EU ETS. SSRN Electronic Journal. https://doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3719948
  • Friedrich, M., Fries, S., Pahle, M., & Edenhofer, O. (2020). Rules vs. Discretion in Cap-and-Trade Programs: Evidence from the EU Emission Trading System (No. 8637; CESifo Working Paper).
  • Friedrich, M., Mauer, E.-M., Pahle, M., & Tietjen, O. (2020). From fundamentals to financial assets: the evolution of understanding price formation in the EU ETS. ZBW Leibniz Information Centre for Economics. https://www.econstor.eu/handle/10419/216726
Selected policy papers:
  • Pahle, M.  (2024). Die CO2-Bepreisung im Umbruch: Was ist vom ETS2 zu erwarten, was kann ein Klimageld leisten? https://www.fes.de/themenportal-wirtschaft-finanzen-oekologie-soziales/artikelseite/fes-impuls-die-co2-bepreisung-im-umbruch
  • Pahle, M. (2023). Schriftliche Stellungnahme zu
    „Klimaschutzgesetz und Klimaschutzprogramm“. https://www.bundestag.de/resource/blob/975510/f532dbf8d08c54935e7d218ad5f3c2bd/Stellungnahme_SV_Dr-_Michael_Pahle_PIK.pdf
  • Görlach; B. et al. (2022). A Fair and Solidarity-based EU Emissions Trading System for Buildings and Road Transport. Ariadne Report. https://ariadneprojekt.de/media/2022/06/Ariadne-Report_ETS2-SCF_June2022.pdf
  • Edenhofer, O., M.Kosch, M. Pahle and G. Zachmann (2021) ‘A whole-economy carbon price
    for Europe and how to get there’, Policy Contribution 06/2021, Bruegel. https://www.bruegel.org/policy-brief/whole-economy-carbon-price-europe-and-how-get-there
  • Knodt, M. Pahle, M. et al. (2020). Kurzdossier: Wegmarken für das EU-Klimaziel 2030. Versteckte Risiken und Chancen der Szenarien der EU-Kommission für den Pfad zur Klimaneutralität. Ariadne Report. https://ariadneprojekt.de/media/2021/02/2020_Dezember_Ariadne-Kurzdossier_EU2030_neuDez30-1.pdf
  • Pahle, M. (2020). Schriftliche Stellungnahme zum Thema „Ökologische Aspekte des Kohleausstiegs“. https://www.bundestag.de/resource/blob/700506/685f63fafc6a1056d5d18a0747773c32/19-16-352-C_PIK-data.pdf
  • ET Kohleausstieg
  • MCC CO2-Preis Reform
  • FES Atomausstieg

Media coverage (selection)