The fantasy of carbon offsetting

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Carbon offsetting has been beset by problems and failures, and relies on the mobilisation of supportive discourses and knowledge-claims to retain a sense of credibility. Psycho-analytical ideology critique can help explain how these processes interact with questions of subjectivity. Analysis of interviews with carbon offset market practitioners suggests that identification with carbon offsetting is only partial, and that it is sustained through disavowal, through trust in the authority of the Other, and through desire for carbon offsetting’s unrealisable promises. It is important to grapple with the fantasy that sustains carbon offsetting in order to better understand, and indeed contest, its enduring appeal and its continued inclusion in climate governance.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-20
JournalEnvironmental Politics
Publication statusPublished - 3 Feb 2021