Green Paradox

The Green Paradox is a term that refers to an undesirable effect of environmental measures.

Politicians believe that environmentally-friendly legislation that lowers demand for fossil fuels can reduce carbon dioxide emissions and thus protect the climate. But how is that supposed to work? We cannot cancel out the worldwide supply of carbon with our energy-saving policy. We are only partially reducing demand and are thus lowering the increase in world market prices, but no more than that. We are presumably only making the problem worse. The resources available still have to be extracted if they are to be used. If we threaten resource owners with ever more environmentally-friendly policy that will destroy their future business, they preempt the threat and extract their resources even faster. Instead of slowing down climate change, we accelerate it. That is the green paradox.

TV Lectures

The Green Paradox - Theses on Climate Change - Information Page

Refereed scientific monographs

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




Articles in refereed journals

"Introductory Comment: The Green Paradox: A Supply-side View of the Climate Problem"Review of Environmental Economics and Policy 9 (2), 2015, pp. 239-245 (Download, 1.73 MB)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, 413 KB); CESifo Working Paper No. 2087, August 2007; (Download, 397 KB).

Policy Contributions in Journals and Academic Volumes

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

Short Policy Contributions and Newspaper Articles

"COVID as a Natural Experiment for Climate Policy", Project Syndicate, June 14th, 2023.

"Kein Alleingang in der Klimapolitik" ("No Unilateralism in Climate Policy")Neue Züricher Zeitung, February 19th, No. 42, p. 28.

"Will Germany’s Energy Policy Lead to Economic Failure?"The Guardian (ref. "Is Germany Sick Again?", Project Syndicate, November 25th, 2022), November 25th, 2022 and "Is Germany sick again?", The Jordan Times, November 28th, 2022.

"Europe's Green Unilateralism"Project Syndicate, July 23rd, 2021, The Japan Times.

"Germany's Ineffective Green Unilateralism"Project Syndicate, May 20th, 2021.

"Europe's Green Dirigisme"Project Syndicate, September 24th, 2020.

"The EU's EV Greenwash"Project Syndicate, November 22nd, 2019, The Guardian (UK).

"Germany's Dangerously Flawed Energy Policies", Project Syndicate, May 24th, 2019.

"Hans-Werner Sinn over de groene paradox" (Hans-Werner Sinn about the green paradox), MeJudice, Economists in debate, May 2nd, 2016, approximately 4 minutes.

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

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

"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).


"Prof. Hans-Werner Sinn: Energy Price, Green Paradox, CO2", Eduard Heindl EnergyTalks, August 2nd, 2023, app. 73 minutes.

Ifo Viewpoints

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