Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

EU ETS and the waterbed effect

Matters Arising to this article was published on 25 September 2019

The Original Article was published on 03 April 2018

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Relevant articles

Open Access articles citing this article.

Access options

Rent or buy this article

Prices vary by article type



Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout


  1. Perino, G. New EU ETS Phase 4 rules temporarily puncture waterbed. Nat. Clim. Change 8, 262–264 (2018).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Ellerman, A. D., Marcantonini, C. & Zaklan, A. The European Union emissions trading system: ten years and counting. Rev. Environ. Econ. Policy 10, 89–107 (2016).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Communication from the Commission: Publication of the Total Number of Allowances in Circulation in 2017 for the Purposes of the Market Stability Reserve under the EU Emissions Trading System Established by Directive 2003/87/EC (EC, 2018);

  4. Market Stability Reserve (European Commission, 2018);

  5. Bertram, C. et al. Complementing carbon prices with technology policies to keep climate targets within reach. Nat. Clim. Change 5, 235–239 (2015).

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. Böhringer, C. & Rosendahl, K. E. Green Serves the dirtiest. On the interaction between black and green quotas. J. Regul. Econ. 37, 316–325 (2010).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. EU Market: EUAs drop a euro in wake of German coal deal. Carbon Pulse (28 January 2019);

  8. Evans, S. Analysis: How far would Germany’s 2038 coal phaseout breach Paris climate goals? CarbonBrief (29 January 2019);

  9. Dufrasne, G. Germany: Coal phase-out must go hand-in-hand with emission permit cancellation to keep CO2 prices up. Carbon Market Watch (5 February 2019);

  10. Rosendahl, K.E. EU ETS and the New Green Paradox Working Paper No. 7645 (CESifo, 2019);

  11. Gerlagh, R. & Heijmans, R. J. R. K. Climate-conscious consumers and the buy, bank, burn program. Nat. Clim. Change 9, 431–433 (2019).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. EUA Price Forecast: A New Era for European Carbon or Calmer Waters Ahead? (Refinitiv Carbon, 2018).

Download references


I thank R. Gerlagh and Y. Qin for helpful comments, and the Research Council of Norway (Norens project) for financial support.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Knut Einar Rosendahl.

Ethics declarations

Competing interests

The author declares no competing interests.

Additional information

Publisher’s note Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Rosendahl, K.E. EU ETS and the waterbed effect. Nat. Clim. Chang. 9, 734–735 (2019).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:

This article is cited by


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing