This page last reviewed November 24, 2015
Compliance Offset Program
ARB Offset Credits Issued (click for more information)
|Project Type||ODS||Livestock||U.S. Forest||Urban Forest||MMC|
|Early Action||6,183,259||1,359,589||7,677,393||- -||768,633|
Table includes all offset credits issued including offset credits placed in ARB's Forest Buffer Account, offset credits returned to an Early Action Offset Program’s forest buffer pool, and offset credits subsequently invalidated.
The California Air Resources Board (ARB) understands that the Climate
Action Reserve (Reserve), the American Carbon Registry (ACR), and the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) may
have issued various types of guidance, errata, and clarification
(guidance) documents related to the implementation of the voluntary
protocols under their voluntary offset programs.
For early action quantification methodologies (approved Reserve and VCS protocols), guidance issued by the Reserve, ACR, or VCS prior to October 20, 2011 on their voluntary protocols may continue to be relied upon until the project transitions to the Compliance Offset Protocol (COP). Guidance issued by the Reserve, ACR, or VCS after October 20, 2011 is currently under ARB review with regard to its applicability to the early action quantification methodologies. If the guidance pertains to sections of the quantification methodology that are silent or ambiguous, then ARB will determine if the guidance is reasonable and consistent with the quantification methodology before allowing its use. Guidance that alters the clear language of an early action quantification methodology will not be applicable. ARB has developed this Supplemental Information on Early Action Project Review document describing ARB's process for assessing guidance, errata, clarifications, and variances issued for early action offset projects. For questions or clarifications regarding ARB’s Compliance Offset Protocols or early action quantification methodologies, please contact an approved Offset Project Registry or ARB directly. The Reserve, ACR, and VCS are approved as Early Action Offset Programs and may issue early action offset credits that may be submitted to ARB for consideration for conversion to ARB Offset Credits.
For the purposes of the Compliance Offset Program, only ARB-issued guidance for Compliance Offset Protocols is considered valid.
ARB has adopted the following Compliance Offset Protocols that may
used to generate ARB offset credits. U.S. Forest, Livestock, and Ozone Depleting
Substances offset projects listed on or after January 1, 2015 must use
the November 14, 2014 Compliance Offset Protocol and all associated
- U.S. Forest Projects (October 20, 2011)
- U.S. Forest Projects (November 14, 2014)
- U.S. Forest Projects (June 25, 2015)
- Urban Forest Projects (October 20, 2011)
- Livestock Projects (October 20, 2011)
- Livestock Projects (November 14, 2014)
- Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) Projects (October 20, 2011)
- Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) Projects (November 14, 2014)
- Mine Methane Capture (MMC) Projects (April 25, 2014)
- Rice Cultivation Projects (June 25, 2015)
All compliance offset projects must be developed according to ARB approved Compliance Offset Protocols. Offset Project Operators must list their offset projects with an approved Offset Project Registry to be eligible for ARB offset credits. Please see the Climate Action Reserve, American Carbon Registry, or Verified Carbon Standard webpages for information on proposed compliance offset projects. Once projects are issued ARB credits, information about the projects can be found on ARB's Offset Credit Issuance webpage.
Project Types - Webpages
- U.S. Forest Projects - October 20, 2011
- U.S. Forest Projects - November 14, 2014
- U.S. Forest Projects - June 25, 2015
- Urban Forest Projects
- Livestock Projects
- Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) Projects
- Mine Methane Capture (MMC) Projects
- Rice Cultivation Projects
Early Action Offset Credits
Cap-and-Trade Regulation allows for the transition of eligible existing
offset credits developed under approved voluntary quantification
ARB offset credits for use in the Cap-and-Trade Program.
Additional information about early action offset credits is available
on the Early
Action Offset Credit web page.
Offset Credit Invalidation
Section 95985 of the Cap-and-Trade Regulation establishes a process for ARB to investigate and invalidate issued compliance offset credits.
Information related to invalidated offset credits can be found below.
- Livestock Offset Investigation FAQ
- ODS Investigation Final Determination
- ODS Investigation Preliminary Determination
- ODS Offset Investigation FAQs
Offset Project Registries
The Cap-and-Trade Regulation allows ARB to approve Offset Project Registries to help administer parts of the Compliance Offset Program. Offset Project Registries must meet specific regulatory criteria to be approved under the regulation. Offset Project Registries will help facilitate the listing, reporting, and verification of offset projects developed using the Compliance Offset Protocols. However, only ARB can issue compliance offset credits for use in the Cap-and-Trade Program. For more information please see the Offset Project Registry web page.
Information and documentation for listed compliance offset projects can be viewed on the registry websites below.
Offset Verification Program
Cap-and-Trade Regulation requires the third-party verification of all
GHG emission reductions or removal enhancements before any ARB offset
credits may be issued. Only ARB-accredited offset
bodies and offset verifiers may provide offset verification services
under the Compliance Offset Program. More information about
offset verification, including a list of approved offset verifiers and
may be found on the Offset
Verification Program web page.
Offset Project Operators
Offset Project Operators (OPOs) may use Compliance Offset Protocols
to develop compliance offset projects under the Cap-and -Trade Program.
The Regulation includes specific requirements that OPOs must meet
including listing offset projects, reporting GHG reductions and removal
enhancements annually, contracting with an ARB-accredited verification
body to conduct offset verification, and submitting attestations to
ARB. More information on specific requirements and compliance
offset projects can be found on the Offset Project Operators web page.
Offset Project Listing Requirements for Native American Tribes
Tribes, because of their unique status as sovereign nations, must include a limited waiver of sovereign immunity that is legally binding under the Tribe’s laws as part of the offset project listing requirements to participate in the Compliance Offset Program. Tribes must meet the requirements of sections 95975(c)(1) through (5), and the requirements of section 95975(l) of the Cap-and-Trade Regulation before any offset project located on the categories of land specified in section 95973(d) of the Cap-and-Trade Regulation can be listed under ARB’s Compliance Offset Program. For more information please see the Offset Project Listing Requirements for Native American Tribes web page.
ARB has developed forms for use in the Compliance Offset Program. These forms may be used by program participants for submitting information related to listing, reporting, verification, and issuance of ARB offset credits. These forms can be found on the Compliance Offset Program Forms web page. In addition, each approved Offset Project Registry will make forms available on its own web page.
Offset Program Guidance and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
ARB has developed general guidance on the compliance offset program. In addition, ARB will develop FAQs that address general questions related to the offsets program.
- ARB Instructional Guidance Document
- Early Action FAQs
- Guidance for CITSS Registration for Offset Project Operators and Authorized Project Designees
- Technical Guidance for Offset Verifiers
- Guidance for Verifying Forest Carbon Inventories Posted
- U.S. Forest Projects Compliance Offset Protocol FAQs
- Ozone Depleting Substances Projects Compliance Offset Protocol FAQs
- Livestock Projects Compliance Offset Protocol FAQs
- Mine Methane Capture Projects Compliance Offset Protocol FAQs
- Offset Program FAQs Coming Soon!