My research highlights the tensions and contradictions associated with carbon offsetting. Offsetting aims to achieve climate change mitigation and social responsibility, yet systematically fails to realise those goals. Through my doctorate, I unpack and explain the moral underpinnings of the cultural political economy of carbon offsetting to show how discourses of normative concern are deployed to give a misleading appearance of policy success, helping to sustain a state of carbon market dysfunction. The dysfunction enables privileged actors to gain economic benefits at the expense of the climate and to the cost of people exposed to externalised effects in less economically developed countries. As such, my research advances critical perspectives on a form of neoliberal environmental governance and helps explain why it perpetuates environmental harm and leads to widening of social and political inequality.