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newsrel -- Air Resources Board prepares to issue first carbon offset credits

Posted: 17 Sep 2013 12:00:19
Please consider the following news release from the California
Air Resources Board:


News Release 13-58

September 17, 2013

Dave Clegern

Air Resources Board prepares to issue first carbon offset

600,000 credits to be issued 

Sacramento— The Air Resources Board announced today it will issue
the first compliance offset credits eligible for use in
California’s cap-and-trade greenhouse gas emissions reduction
program.  Carbon offset credits are issued for greenhouse gas
emission reductions that take place in sectors not covered under
the cap-and-trade program.  Each credit represents one metric ton
of carbon dioxide and only carbon offset credits issued by the
Air Resources Board are considered compliance offset credits. The
issuance of the carbon offset credits by the Air Resources Board
follows an extensive evaluation process including third-party
verifications that protocols were strictly followed.
"Issuing the first compliance-grade carbon offset credits marks
an important step forward for the cap-and-trade program and
California's efforts to fight climate change," said Air Resources
Board Chairman Mary D. Nichols. "These offsets have undergone the
most rigorous verification of any existing program. They achieve
real greenhouse gas reductions under ARB-approved protocols, and
deliver a range of additional environmental benefits." 

Covered facilities may use carbon offsets to cover up to 8
percent of their compliance obligation.  Carbon offsets also act
as a cost-control measure for covered facilities because offsets
generally cost less than allowances, which are issued by the

In addition, carbon offsets come from projects that provide
significant additional environmental benefits beyond the
reduction of greenhouse gases. These include, for example,
protection of the ozone layer, or supporting improved forest
management which upgrades water quality and habitat.

The Air Resources Board has begun the process of issuing
compliance offset credits for both early action projects and
compliance offset projects.  The first compliance offset credits
are all for projects developed under the Ozone Depleting
Substances Protocol.  This protocol requires the destruction of
potent greenhouse gases that leak into the atmosphere. Eligible
ozone depleting substances have been used as refrigerants and as
foam-blowing agents.  Their release into the atmosphere damages
the earth’s ozone layer and also contributes to global warming.

The Air Resources Board has also begun the process of recognizing
offset credits for early action projects. Those are greenhouse
gas emissions reductions generated under Air Resources
Board-approved voluntary carbon registry protocols. These credits
for early action recognize that real and verified greenhouse gas
reductions were made in good faith before the cap-and-trade
program began.

For carbon offset projects to be considered for Air Resources
Board offset credits, they must first be registered with an Air
Resources Board-approved carbon registry. Each project developer
must then provide a complete history of the project. That
documentation and the project site itself must be evaluated by
Air Resources Board trained, independent, third-party verifiers. 
Air Resources Board staff then review each project as well. This
process provides the most rigorous and stringent verification
methodology in the world.

Offset credit issuance is a three-step process:
*	Project developer requests that Air Resources Board issue
compliance offset credits, and supplies supporting
*	Once ARB verifies the documentation and makes a determination,
credits issued by approved offset registries must then be
*	ARB then issues that number of compliance offset credits for
use under the cap-and-trade program.

Air Resources Board compliance offset credits will be issued
within the Compliance Instrument Tracking System Service (CITSS),
the same system in which state-issued allowances reside. Once the
determination to issue credits is made by ARB, it can take up to
30 days for the credits to be placed in the holder's account in
CITSS. The current batch of 600,000 offsets -- for a combination
of early action projects and compliance offset projects -- are
likely to be issued before the end of the month.

The Air Resources Board currently has 4 approved offset protocols
that can generate compliance-grade carbon offset credits:
1. Forestry Management  Projects (in the lower 48 states)
2. Urban Forestry Projects
3. Dairy Digester Projects (to capture methane from manure at
dairy facilities)
4. Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) Destruction Projects 

For more information about the early action program, compliance
offset program, or compliance offset protocols:


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