Green Energy

German environmental policy is labouring under the delusion that it can reduce the worldwide supply of oil and gas by avoiding emissions and lowering demand. But what happens if the owners of these resources decide not to play along? After all, they are under no obligation to sell us their oil and gas, and can just as easily trade with countries that have not signed the Kyoto protocol and which produce 70% of global CO2 emissions. By downwardly pressuring energy prices in the global market with our frugality, we are subsidising consumption by the Americans and the Chinese, who then drive in a more gas-guzzling manner and build polluting factories. On this web page Hans-Werner Sinn examines the dangerous flaws in Germany’s environmental policy and shows its current influence on our energy prices. If we wish to save out climate, blind politicking has to stop and a global strategy to limit the supply of raw materials needs to be found.

TV Lectures

The Green Paradox - Theses on Climate Change
Organizer: Bavarian Radio, BRalpha, Ifo Institute for Economic Research, Munich, University of Munich
Venue: Ifo Institute for Economic Research, Poschingerstrasse 5, 81679 Munich, Ludwig Erhard Room


“Die Grenzen der Energiewende”, Symposium der Vernunftkraft, Schloss Johannisberg im Rheingau, 27.03.2016.



Ausschnitt Extract “Energy Turnaround” of “Review of Half a Century”, Public Univeristy Lecture at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich, 14.12.2015, watch webpage.



Energiewende: Konsequenzen für den Industriestandort Deutschland?” (Energy Turnaround: What Are Its Implications for Germany as a Business Location?), Joint Symposium by the German Council of Environmental Advisors (SRU) and the Ifo Institute, Mai 13th, 2015 (in German).


“Streitgespräch über die Chancen und Risiken der Energiewende” (Debate over the Opportunities and Risks of the Energy Turnaround),  Munich Seminar with Dieter Janecek, July 8th, 2014 (in German).



“Schafft es Deutschland, den Zappelstrom zu bändigen?” (Can Germany control its fluctuating power supply?), Presentation by Hans-Werner Sinn, Ifo Annual Meeting, June 26th, 2014 (in German).



“Energiewende ins Nichts” (Energy Policy Turnaround Leading Nowhere), Presentation by Hans-Werner Sinn, Große Aula, Ludwig Maximilians University, December 16th, 2013 (in German).



Topical Term in Economics: “Erneuerbare-Energien-Gesetz”, Interview with Hans-Werner Sinn , October 11th, 2010 (in German).



“Hans-Werner Sinn: Klimawandel, grüne Politik und erschöpfbare Ressourcen”Thünen Lecture, Verein für Socialpolitik - Annual Congress 2007 "Education and Innovation", October 10th, 2007 (in German).



Current Policy Contributions

“Der Knackpunkt der Energiewende” (The Stumbling Block of the Energy Turnaround),, December 11th, 2015.

“Die fragwürdige Rolle von Umweltstandards in der Automobilindustrie” (The Dubious Role of Environmental Standards in the Automotive Industry), WirtschaftsWoche, October 9th, 2015, p. 37.

“13 Theses on the German Energy Transformation”, July 8th, 2014.

Refereed scientific monographs

The Green Paradox, MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass., 2012, 288 pages. (Revised and updated translation of Das grüne Paradoxon). To Amazon.




Non-refereed scientific monographs

Das grüne Paradoxon - Plädoyer für eine illusionsfreie Klimapolitik (The Green Paradox – an Argument for Climate Policies Free of Illusions), Econ: Berlin, 2008, 480 pages. Up to now two editions, third revised paperback edition: Ullstein: Berlin 2012. To Amazon.



Smaller, non-refereed scientific monographs

Fusion E.ON-Ruhrgas - Die volkswirtschaftlichen Aspekte (Fusion E.ON-Ruhrgas – The Economic Aspects), ifo Forschungsberichte, No. 9, Ifo Institute: Munich 2002, 63 pages.

Articles in refereed journals

"The Green Paradox: A Supply-side View of the Climate Problem", Review of Environmental Economics and Policy 9 (2), 2015, pp. 239-245 (Download, 75 KB), CESifo Working Paper No. 5385, June 2015 (Download, 108 KB).

"Public Policies against Global Warming: a supply side approach“, International Tax and Public Finance 15 (4), 2008, pp. 360-394; (Download, 1.9 MB); CESifo Working Paper No. 2087, August 2007; (Download, 841 KB).

"Das grüne Paradoxon: Warum man das Angebot bei der Klimapolitik nicht vergessen darf“ (The Green Paradox: Why the Supply Side is Relevant for Climate Policy), Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik 9 (special issue), 2008, pp. 109- 142; (Download, 2.4 MB); ifo Working Paper No. 54, January 2008; (Download, 675 KB).

"Green Tax Reform and Competitiveness“ (together with E. Koskela and R. Schöb), German Economic Review 2, 2001, pp. 19-30; (Download, 1.49 MB).

"Pollution, Factor Taxation and Unemployment“ (together with E. Koskela and R. Schöb), International Tax and Public Finance 5, 1998, pp. 379-396; (Download, 182 KB); CESifo Working Paper No. 151, 1998.

"Pigou and Clarke Join Hands“, Public Choice 75, 1993, pp. 79-91; (Download, 1.1 MB) .

"Surprise Price Shifts, Tax Changes and the Supply Behaviour of Resource Extracting Firms", (together with N.V. Long), Australian Economic Papers 24, 1985, pp. 278-289; (Download, 499 KB).

"The Theory of Exhaustible Resources “, Zeitschrift für Nationalökonomie 41, 1981, pp. 183-192; (Download, 584 KB).

Academic papers in conference volumes

"Green Tax Reform, Structural Unemployment, and Welfare“ (together with E. Koskela and R. Schöb), in: H. Chernick, ed., Proceedings of the 91st Annual Conference on Taxation, National Tax Association: Washington D.C. 1999, pp. 52-56 (Download, 1.6 MB); CESifo Working Paper No. 176, 1998; NBER Working Paper No. 6922, February 1999.

"Die Clarke-Steuer zur Lösung des Umweltproblems: Eine Erläuterung am Beispiel der Wasserwirtschaft“ (The Clarke Tax as a Solution to the Environmental Problem: an Explanation Based on the Example of Water Supply), in: H. Siebert, ed., Umweltschutz für Luft und Wasser, Springer: Berlin, Heidelberg and New York 1988, pp. 241-254 (Download, 986 KB).

"Absatzsteuern, Ölförderung und das Allmendeproblem" (Sales Taxes, Oil Extraction and the Common Pool Problem), in: H. Siebert, ed., Reaktionen auf Energiepreissteigerungen, Lang: Frankfurt and Bern 1982, pp. 83-103 (Download, 1.7 MB).

Policy Contributions in Journals and Academic Volumes

"Zur Zukunft der Energieversorgung - Ausgangssituation und einführende Bemerkungen" (On the Future of Energy Supply - Current Situation and Introductory Remarks), in: Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaft, ed., roundtable discussions held by the Ecology Commission on "The Future of Energy Supply" 41, 2012, pp. 13-16 (Download, 465 KB).

"Zusammenfassung des Rundgesprächs und Auszüge aus den Referaten" (Summary of Roundtable Discussions and Extracts from Speeches) (together with Franz Mayinger), in: Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaft, ed., roundtable discussions held by the Ecology Commission on "The Future of Energy Supply" 41, 2012, pp. 209-212 (Download, 197 KB).

"Klimapolitische Ziele der Bundesregierung nach Atomausstieg nicht mehr erreichbar" (Climate-policy goals of the federal government no longer attainable after an abandonment of nuclear energy), ifo Schnelldienst 64, 2011, No. 10, p. 16 (Download, 135 KB).

"The Green Paradoxon", CESifo Forum 10, 2009, No. 3, pp. 10-13 (Download, 198 KB).

"Das grüne Paradoxon: Warum man das Angebot bei der Klimapolitik nicht vergessen darf " (The Green Paradox: A Supply-Side Approach to Climate Policy), in: Frank Beckenbach et. al (ed.), Diskurs Klimapolitik, Jahrbuch Ökologische Ökonomik Bd. 6, Metropolis: Marburg, 2009, pp. 63-108 (Download, 7.8 MB).

"Erwiderung zu den Kommentaren" (Replies to the Comments), in: Frank Beckenbach et. al (ed.), Diskurs Klimapolitik, Jahrbuch Ökologische Ökonomik Bd. 6, Metropolis: Marburg, 2009, pp. 161-168 (Download, 1.5 MB).

Short Policy Contributions and Newspaper Articles

“Die fragwürdige Rolle von Umweltstandards in der Automobilindustrie” (The Dubious Role of Environmental Standards in the Automotive Industry), WirtschaftsWoche, October 9th, 2015, p. 37.

"Das Rätsel um die Europäische Energieversorgung: Systemversagen" (The European Energy Supply Puzzle: a System Failure ) (together with Giuseppe Bertola and Harold James),, March 30th, 2015.

"Eine Antwort an die Kritiker" (A Response to His Critics), Handelsblatt, January 21st, 2015, p. 14.

"Putin und der Zappelstrom" (Putin and a Fluctuating Power Supply), WirtschaftsWoche, March 17th, 2014, No. 12, p. 37.

"Finsterste Industriepolitik" (Very Bleak Industrial Policy), WirtschaftsWoche, May 27th, 2013, No. 22, p. 43.

"The Green Paradox", The World Financial Review, May – June 2012, p. 51.

"Abgesang auf das EEG" (Requiem for the EEG), Wirtschaftswoche, February 6th, 2012, No. 6, p. 40, also published in: Energie Kompakt, March 2012, 3/2012, p. 9.

"Energiewende ins Nichts" (Energy Policy Turnaround Leading Nowhere), Handelsblatt, March 28th, 2011, No. 61, p. 56.

"Der Dinosaurier und seine Thesen" (The Dinosaur and His Theses), Süddeutsche Zeitung, January 25th, 2010, No. 19, p. 16.

"In Spanien mehr Sonne" (More Sunshine in Spain), Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, December 16th, 2009, No. 292, p. 8.

"Warum die Umweltpolitik neu definiert werden muss" (Why We Need a New Definition of Environmental Policy), Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, December 4th, 2009, No. 282, p. 12.

"Was die neue Bundesregierung jetzt tun muss" (What the New Federal Government has to Do Now), Die Welt, September 29th, 2009, No. 227, p. 12.

"How to resolve the green paradoxon"Financial Times, August 27th, 2009, No. 37.090, p. 7.

"Kurzarbeit im Umweltministerium" (Short-Time in the Ministery of Environment), Handelsblatt, July 20th, 2009, No. 136, p. 6.

"Kurzarbeit auf den Bohrinseln" (Short-Time on Oil Platforms), Handelsblatt, May 28th, 2009, No. 101, p. 7.

"Das grüne Paradoxon" (The Green Paradox), Cicero, October 27th, 2008, No. 11/2008, p. 74-78.

"Geisterfahrer Deutschland“ (Nuclear Power: Wrong-Way Driver Germany), Wirtschaftswoche, July 21st, 2008, No. 30, p. 35.

"Food or Fuel?" (ref. Project Syndicate November 2007), Daily Times (Pakistan), Börsen Zeitung (Germany), Luxemburger Tageblatt (Luxembourg).

"Tanken statt essen?“ (Better Refuel than Eat?), Wirtschaftswoche, No. 36, September 3rd, 2007, p. 162, imprinted again in: Karl et al., ed., Steirisches Jahrbuch für Politik 2008, p. 211-212.

"The Green Paradox" (ref. Project Syndicate June 2007), Journal of Turkish Weekly (Turkey), Les Nouvelles (Madagascar), Les Echos (Mali), Standard Times (Sierra Leone), South China Morning Post (Hong Kong), The Financial Express (India), The Korea Herald (South Korea), Business World (Philippines), The Sunday Times (Sri Lanka), The Nation (Thailand), Die Presse (Austria), L’Echo (Belgium), Borsen (Denmark), Aripaev (Estonia), Vilaggazdasag (Hungary), The Times of Malta (Malta), Danas (Serbia), Stabroek News (Guyana), Jordan Property (Jordan), Al Raya (Qatar), Al Eqtisadiah (Saudi Arabia), Duowei Times (USA).

Newspaper Interviews and Discussions (since 2002)

“Der Knackpunkt der Energiewende” (The Stumbling Block of the Energy Turnaround),, December 11th, 2015.

"Bundesregierung ist mit der Energiewende auf dem Holzweg" (German Federal Government is on the Wrong Tack with Energy Turnaround), Allgemeine Bäckerzeitung, February 22nd, 2014, No. 4, p. 17.

"Die einzige Hoffnung der Menschheit war die Atomkraft" (Nuclear Power was Mankind's Only Hope), manager magazin online, February 5th, 2014.

"Quando il verde non basta", Tempi, May 30th, 2012, No. 21, p. 22.

"Zu viele unrealistische Hoffnungen und zu wenig Pragmatismus" (Too Many Unrealistic Hopes and Too Little Pragmatism), Energiewirtschaftliche Tagesfragen, January 1st, 2012, No. 1/2, p. 54.

"Der Ausstieg stellt uns vor Herausforderungen, die es so noch nicht gegeben hat" (The Decision to Phase-Out Nuclear Power Poses Challenges That Have Never Previously Existed in This Form), Faszination Forschung, December 1st, 2011, No. 9, p. 87.

"Ausstieg nicht nur zu früh, er ist auch falsch" (An Exit is not only Premature, but Wrong), Oberösterreichische Nachrichten online, November 9th, 2011.

"Trägt die Wirtschaft Verantwortung für das Weltklima, Herr Professor Sinn?" (Is the economy responsible for the world’s climate, Professor Sinn?), Thalia Magazin, September 7th, 2011, No.03/2011, p. 60-61.

"Ein gutes Gefühl genügt nicht" (Feeling Good is Not Enough), Neue Zürcher Zeitung, June 5th, 2010, No. 132, p. 15.

"Das Erneuerbare-Energien-Gesetz muss weg" (Away With The Renewable Energies Law), Rhein-Neckar-Zeitung, January 19th, 2010, p. 22.

"Grünes Säbelrasseln" (Sabre-Rattling in the Green Party), Brennstoffspiegel, January 1st, 2010, No. 01/2010, p. 12-13.

"Es braucht einen Zertifikathandel" (Certificate Trading is Necessary), Handelszeitung Online, August 18th, 2009.

"Wir brauchen eine illusionsfreie Klimaschutzpolitik!" (We Need a Climate Policy Free of Illusions), Ödp-Journal, August 1st, 2009, No. 143, p. 18-19.

"Munter Energie verschwenden“ (Go On Wasting Energy), Focus, December 15th, 2008, No. 51, p. 24-25.

"EU-Ziel bringt nichts ohne die anderen“ (EU Target Worthless Without the Others), Die Presse, December 11th, 2008, No. 18.256, p. 2.

"Wir sollten die Dämme erhöhen“ (We Should Raise the Dikes), Neue Zürcher Zeitung, December 10th, 2008, No. 289, p. 13.

"Grüner Strom schadet dem Klima" (Green Electricity Harms the Climate), Markt und Mittelstand, December 1st, 2008, No. 12/2008.

"Umweltpolitik als Nullsummenspiel“ (Environmental Policy With No Effect), Cuxhavener Nachrichten, November 21st, 2008, p. 3.

"Alle oder keiner“ (Everybody or Nobody), Stern, November 6th, 2008, No. 46/2008, p. 30-34.

"Das Klimaproblem ist auch ein moralisches Problem“ (The Climate Problem is Also an Ethical Problem), Diners Club Magazin, November 1st, 2008, p. 60-61.

"Die Gase der anderen“ (The Gases of the Others), Manager Magazin, October 24th, 2008, No. 11/2008, p. 130.

"Getreide in den Benzintank?" (Cereals in the Gas Tank?), Kleine Zeitung, April 21st, 2008, p. 18.

"Die Frage ist: Teller oder Tank?" (The Question is: Plates or Fueltanks?), Die Presse, April 19th, 2008, No. 18.060, p. 28.

"Was wir sparen, verbrauchen andere" (Others Consume What We Save), FOCUS, January 28th, 2008, No. 5, p. 13.

"Dem Klima hilft das alles nicht“ (That is All no Help for the Climate), private wealth, January 1st, 2008, p. 14.

"Die europäische Klimapolitik hat null Effekt“ (The Effect of European Climate Policy is Zero), Financial Times Deutschland, October 10th, 2007, p. 18.


“German Economists Call For Reinforcement of Emission Trading”, Open Letter to Germany’s Chancellor dated March 18th, 2013, Download (in German).

Ifo Viewpoints

Ifo Viewpoint No. 154: Putin and Flickering Power, Mar 17, 2014.

Ifo Viewpoint No. 131: Requiem for Germany’s feed-in tariffs, Feb 28, 2012.

Ifo Viewpoint No. 106: The Green Paradox, Jun 16, 2009.

Ifo Viewpoint No. 98: Nuclear Power: Wrong-Way Driver Germany, Jul 22, 2008.

Ifo Viewpoint No. 89: How the Upswing Came About – Six Hypotheses, Nov 15, 2007.

fo Viewpoint No. 88: Should We Run Our Cars on Food?, Oct 16, 2007.

Ifo Viewpoint No. 85: The Green Paradox, Jul 9, 2007.

Ifo Viewpoint No. 36: E.ON, Ruhrgas and Consumer Protection, Jul 17, 2002.

Ifo Viewpoint No. 30: Save our Coal!, Nov 23, 2001.

Ifo Viewpoint No. 14: The Battle with OPEC, Sep 20, 2000.

Unpublished Discussion Papers

"The Fossile Episode“ (together with John Hassler), CESifo Working Paper No. 4016, 2012 (Download, 532 KB).

"Pareto Optimality in the Extraction of Fossil Fuels and the Greenhouse Effect: A Note“, CESifo Working Paper No. 2083, 2007 (Download, 279 KB), NBER Working Paper Nr. 13453, 2007.