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California Compliance Offset Projects

Under California’s cap-and-trade program, which officially launched in January 2013, the state’s largest sources of GHG emissions are required to meet the regulatory greenhouse gas (GHG) emission caps. To contain costs, up to eight percent of the compliance obligation of capped entities, estimated at 200 million tons 2013-2020, can be met with ARB offset credits.

With ACR’s official approval by the California Air Resources Board (ARB) as an Offset Project Registry (OPR) and Early Action Offset Program in December 2012, ACR is immediately open to accept listing and registration of carbon offset projects developed using ARB’s compliance and early action offset protocols.

As an OPR, ACR will work with ARB to oversee the registration and issuance of 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 main webpage for the Compliance Offset Program contains information and materials including:

  • Verification (including accredited verification bodies and verifiers)


Other Guidance


Early Action

Early action offset credits must be issued by Early Action Offset Programs that are approved under the Cap-and-Trade Regulation. American Carbon Registry is an ARB approved Early Action Offset Program.

As an ARB approved Early Action Offset Program, American Carbon Registry can list early action projects and issue early action offset credits under any ARB approved voluntary quantification methodology. Early action offset credits issued by an approved Early Action Offset Program under ARB approved voluntary quantification methodologies and that meet regulatory requirements may transition to ARB offset credits.

For more information, please see ARB’s Early Action Offset Credits webpage.


Current ARB-approved early action quantification methodologies

Additional voluntary quantification methodologies eligible for early action may be added to the list by ARB upon adoption of new compliance offset protocols.


Potential New Compliance Offset Protocols

ACR serves on the technical working groups for the two new compliance protocols in development:

ACR supports ARB’s decision to delay adoption of a rice cultivation protocol until spring 2014


ACR Early Action Offset Project Listing and Data Forms


ARB Compliance Offset Protocols

ARB Compliance Offset Protocols and related documents are available for download from ARB's Compliance Offset Program webpage.


Compliance Offset Project Listing Forms

Offset Project Listing Forms for offset projects developed using ARB compliance offset protocols are included below.


Compliance Offset Project Data Report Forms

Offset Project Data Report Forms for offset projects developed using ARB compliance offset protocols are included below.


Compliance Verification Forms

Forms for verification of offset projects developed using ARB compliance offset protocols are included below.


Other Forms


How to List and Issue Registry Offset Credits on ACR: Webinar

To learn more about the process for listing and issuance of Registry Offset Credits and Early Action Offset Credits on ACR for the California Cap-and-Trade Program, view a powerpoint presentation here and an instructional webinar video here .


Contact ACR

For information on the California Compliance Offset Program, contact Mary Grady at

For information or assistance with:

  • Early action or compliance forestry offset projects, contact Jessica Orrego at
  • Early action or compliance livestock offset projects, contact Kyle Hemes at


You can also contact ACR's California office:

980 Ninth Street, Suite 2060

Sacramento CA 95814

(916) 520-8628(916) 520-8628

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