SACRAMENTO- More than 97 percent of the state's 600 largest facilities are complying with the California Air Resources Board's mandatory reporting requirements for greenhouse gas emissions.
ARB also announced that California is now the first state in the country to accredit third-party professionals to verify reported greenhouse gas emissions.
"We now have an accounting of greenhouse gas emissions from the state's largest facilities, and we also have well-trained professionals to verify those reported emissions," said ARB Chairman Mary D. Nichols. "Our reporting and verification program will ensure that reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from the state's largest facilities are accurate and credible."
To date, 591 out of 605 facilities have completed their greenhouse gas emissions reports for 2008. ARB staff is working with the remaining facilities to complete their reporting by early December.
The ARB adopted a mandatory reporting regulation for the state's largest stationary facilities in late 2007, as required under the state's Global Warming Solutions Act Governor Schwarzenegger signed in 2006.
All sources that emit at least 25,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year, including cement plants, oil refineries, and hydrogen plants are required to submit their annual emissions to ARB. Electricity generating and cogeneration plants with one megawatt capacity and higher must also report their emissions. Electricity retail providers and marketers must also report the amount of their imported energy.
ARB staff will work closely with US EPA as it continues to develop and implement its own greenhouse gas reporting program to ensure the two efforts are harmonized.
Third party verification
The first graduates to receive accreditation to review climate change emissions data for California's mandatory reporting program include 101 individual verifiers and 17 businesses. ARB accreditation is granted only after applicants complete a rigorous 40-hour course and final examination.
The accredited verifiers can now contract to review and substantiate emissions reports filed by the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions in the state. Once accredited, verifiers will visit facilities, review records and conduct inspections to ensure compliance. Verification of all reported emissions will be required starting in 2010, providing an important database on individual facility emissions in advance of the state's cap-and-trade regulatory program, slated to start in 2012.
ARB developed its verification requirements based on methods developed by the then California Climate Action Registry (now known as the Climate Action Reserve) and the International Organization for Standardization. The California Climate Action Registry established a voluntary greenhouse gas emissions reporting and verification program in 2001, providing valuable in-the-field experience and the opportunity to develop and refine the methods needed to find and correct errors that inevitably occur when complex data are compiled by diverse emissions sources.
ARB's goal is to accredit more than 200 verification professionals by the end of the year. Reporting facilities will contract with accredited verification bodies -- either private firms or air districts. Under provisions of the reporting regulation, ARB staff will review all relationships between facilities and verification bodies for potential conflict-of-interest before verification services may proceed.
California last year adopted a comprehensive roadmap, known as the Scoping Plan, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 30 percent by 2020. Several of the control measures in that plan, including a cap-and-trade system to reduce carbon emissions, will rely on accurate and verified emissions reporting to track progress and ensure compliance.
The list of ARB-accredited verification bodies and verifiers is here: http://www.arb.ca.gov/cc/reporting/ghg-ver/ghg-ver.htm
The database of reported greenhouse gas emissions is at: http://www.arb.ca.gov/cc/reporting/ghg-rep/ghg-rep.htm
The Air Resources Board is a department of the California Environmental Protection Agency. ARB's mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy. The ARB oversees all air pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain health based air quality standards.