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Air Resources Board approves amendments strengthening California’s cap-and-trade regulation, adds new offset protocol
Mine methane capture is newest carbon reduction opportunity
SACRAMENTO - The California Air Resources Board today approved amendments to the state’s greenhouse gas cap-and-trade program. The Board also voted to adopt a new protocol that would generate compliance-grade carbon offsets for mine methane. These amendments will be effective July 1, 2014.
The amendments will provide additional market oversight and extend transition assistance for the industrial sector through the second compliance period (2015-2017) as businesses undertake needed investments to cut their emissions.
The Mine Methane Capture offset protocol provides a new opportunity for achieving compliance-grade greenhouse gas emissions reductions from sectors which are not under the cap.
Methane now leaking from mines around the country is the equivalent of 70 million metric tons of carbon dioxide. This protocol addresses the two primary sources of methane from active mining: methane released through ventilation shafts, and methane released from drainage systems. Emission reductions will be achieved through methane capture and use or destruction of methane from these sources. Reducing methane is critical because, over a 20 year span, it can warm the atmosphere more than 80 times as much as carbon dioxide.
The Mine Methane Capture protocol joins the Forestry, Urban Forestry, Livestock and Ozone Depleting Substance protocols as a source of potential offsets under California’s cap-and-trade program.
Cap-and-trade is part of a suite of AB 32 programs designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 20 percent by 2020. Compliance with California’s cap-and-trade program began January 1, 2013. The Air Resources Board approved the regulation in October of 2011.
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.