Politics lecturer authors article on the fantasy of carbon offsetting

Dr Robbie Watt, Politics, has had a journal article on the fantasy of carbon offsetting published in Environmental Politics. This has been followed by an article on the same topic in the Conversation.

Lecturer in International Politics, Dr Robbie Watt, has authored an article on the fantasy of carbon offsetting, published in Environmental Politics. Carbon offset schemes allow companies to pay towards low-carbon projects around the world, as a means of claiming that their carbon footprints have been ‘neutralised’. Dr Watt argues that carbon offsetting has been overwhelmed by failures and that one of the reasons it continues to remain popular, is because of fantasy.

In the article, Dr Watt presents an analysis of interviews with carbon offset market practitioners, which 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.

As companies and governments across the world build on plans to offset carbon emissions in a bid to reach “net-zero” targets, Dr Watt suggests that the fantasy of carbon offsetting is so attractive because people want to believe in carbon offsetting as it offers a promise that we can enjoy consumerism without being too concerned about ecological crisis. Dr Watt calls for further research into the fantasy that sustains carbon offsetting in order to better understand its enduring appeal and its continued inclusion in climate governance.

Dr Watt says “My aim with this article is to improve our diagnosis of the fantasy involved in carbon offsetting, but the bigger hope lies in the possibility of using insights from this research to help transcend the climatic and ecological crisis that we find ourselves in.”

Read the full article online, available free access until July, or take a look at Dr Watt’s piece on the same subject in The Conversation.

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