California Cap-and-Trade: ACR as an Approved Offset Project Registry
SACRAMENTO, CA, December 14, 2012 – The California Air Resources Board (ARB) has approved the American Carbon Registry (ACR), a nonprofit enterprise of Winrock International, as an Offset Project Registry (OPR) for the California Cap-and-Trade Program. As an OPR, ACR will work with ARB to oversee the registration and issuance of California-eligible Registry Offset Credits developed using ARB’s compliance or early action offset protocols. Registry Offset Credits are eligible to be transitioned into ARB compliance offset credits that may be used in the Cap-and-Trade Program. As an approved OPR, ACR will work closely with ARB to ensure offset project operators and verifiers have accurate information to ensure the highest quality of offsets.
ARB’s approval of ACR as an OPR signals that ACR has met stringent regulatory requirements including technical expertise in carbon offset protocols; extensive experience in the oversight of offset project listing, registration, independent verification and issuance; operational know-how in offset registry management; and a solid understanding of the regulation underpinning the compliance offset program.
“American Carbon Registry is proud to have the opportunity to work with ARB to implement the California offset program. As a Rockefeller family institution, our focus is on sound science, and we share ARB’s commitment to ensuring the integrity of offsets. We were founded 15 years ago to build carbon market experience in the U.S. and to demonstrate that transparent, well-designed markets can be the most efficient mechanism to improve the environment,” said John Kadyszewski, director of ACR. “ARB’s leadership inspires us to help make the California cap-and-trade program a successful model for launching a low-carbon economy.”
ARB’s approval of OPRs and verification bodies is a critical step in kicking off activity in the California offset program since to be eligible for compliance, all offset projects are required to be developed using an ARB approved protocol, registered on an approved OPR and verified by accredited verifiers.
“As the leading U.S. forest carbon offset project developer, we are excited by the news that ARB has approved Offset Project Registries and Verifiers for the compliance offset program,” stated Sean Carney, president and CEO of Finite Carbon. “We expect the pace of offset project registrations and issuances to increase significantly over the next year, and we look forward to working with ACR to make sure the system works efficiently, cost-effectively and safeguards offset quality.”
California is the first U.S. state to approve an economy-wide cap-and-trade program, which has created the second largest carbon market in the world behind the European Union. Cap-and-trade is the cornerstone of Assembly Bill 32 (AB32), California’s historic climate change law that mandates a reduction in carbon emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. Beginning in 2013, the state’s largest sources of GHG emissions will be required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or purchase allowances or offsets if they cannot. The projection for the use of offsets in the three compliance periods 2013- 2020 is 200 million tons at an estimated value over $5 billion.
“ARB’s approval of Offset Project Registries and Verifiers, including the American Carbon Registry, represents a significant step towards full implementation of California’s carbon market,” said Lenny Hochschild, managing director for Evolution Markets. “We applaud ARB’s decision to utilize the expertise of existing qualified entities to help administer the offset program and expect this model to increase efficiency of the program while maintaining offset integrity.”
"The International Emissions Trading Association (IETA) is pleased to see the recent steps that ARB is taking as it prepares for its upcoming cap-and-trade program launch in January 2013,” stated Dirk Forrister, president and CEO of IETA and a member of ACR’s Advisory Council. “Key infrastructure developments, such as Offset Project Registry implementation decisions and verifier accreditation & approval, will help to set in motion what we hope will be a strong compliance offset program; a necessary ingredient towards enabling a liquid, robust carbon market."