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California Offset Program

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.

In December 2012, ACR was approved by the California Air Resources Board (ARB) as an Offset Project Registry (OPR) and Early Action Offset Program (EAOP). As an OPR and EAOP, ACR works with ARB to oversee the listing and verification of carbon offset projects developed using ARB's compliance and early action offset protocols as well as the issuance of Offset Credits developed using ARB’s compliance protocols and approved early action quantification methodologies. ACR-issued Registry Offset Credits (ROCs) and Early Action Offset Credits (EAOCs) are eligible to be transitioned into ARB compliance offset credits that may be used to meet emissions reduction obligatins under the Cap-and-Trade Program. 

ARB’s approval of ACR signals that we have met stringent regulatory requirements including technical expertise in carbon offset methodologies; extensive experience in the oversight of offset project listing, registration, independent verification and issuance; and a solid understanding of the regulation underpinning the compliance offset program.

In addition to ACR staff attending mandatory ARB training and passing ARB exams in Offset Project Registry operations and Compliance Offset Project Verification, ACR team members have participated in ARB training and passed 22 technical exams in the five Compliance Offset Protocols:

  • Seven ACR team members passed the ARB exam in the U.S. Forestry offset protocol:
  • Five ACR team members passed the ARB exam in the ODS offset protocol;
  • Four ACR team members passed the ARB exam in the Livestock offset protocol;
  • Three ACR team members passed the ARB exam in the Mine Methane Capture offset protocol; and
  • Three ACR team members passed the ARB exam in the Urban Forestry offset protocol.