In this themed issue published in the journal Environment and Planning A, we contribute to ongoing debates analysing the effects of climate-offsetting activities at different scales and on different peoples and ecologies. The starting point of the issue is, first, our conviction that carbon offsetting deserves scrutiny to ensure the continuous evaluation of climate policy instruments, in order to improve their design and implementation or, if negative evidence mounts up, to abandon them as means to address the global climate change challenge. Second, and drawing on earlier calls to generate more empirically rich and grounded research on carbon offsetting, we believe it is necessary to generate a more nuanced understanding of why people should accommodate or resist carbon-offsetting activities, and how local and national contexts may be influencing the way in which projects are developed and subsequently accepted or contested. Third, we think that each of these place-based analyses should be put in dialogue with broader debates about the extent to which carbon offsetting aids or contravenes climate and environmental justice principles. Each of the collection’s articles provides valuable insights on these three fronts.