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


Social networks


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. In that capacity he collaborates with leading think tanks in the EU, including the European University Institute based in Florenz and Bruegel based in Brussels. Furthermore, he 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.

Articles in peer-reviewed journals:
  1. 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
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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.
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. 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
  13. 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
  14. 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
  15. 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
  16. 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
  17. 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
  18. 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
  19. 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
  20. 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
  21. 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
  22. 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
  23. 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
  24. 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
  25. 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
  26. 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
  27. 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
  28. 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
  29. 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
  30. 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
  31. 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
  32. 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
  33. 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
  34. 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
  35. 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
  36. 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
  37. Pahle, M., Fan, L., & Schill, W. P. (2011). How emission certificate allocations distort fossil investments: The German example. Energy Policy, 39(4), 1975–1987.
  38. Pahle, M. (2010). Germany’s dash for coal: Exploring drivers and factors. Energy Policy, 38(7), 3431–3442.
Articles under review/in revision/in press and working papers:
  • Quemin, S., Pahle, M.  (R&R).Financials threaten to undermine the functioning of emissions markets. https://ssrn.com/abstract=3985079
  • Mauer, E.-M., Okullo, S. J., & Pahle, M. (R&R). 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

Media coverage (selection)