The Climate Action Reserve has reached the milestone of issuing more than 25 million carbon offset credits, which is the equivalent to removing 4.9 million passenger vehicles from the road for one year. Each credit, called Climate Reserve Tonne (CRT), represents one metric ton of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that has been prevented from release in the atmosphere. In just over four years, the Reserve has established a highly valued commodity sought by major businesses and organizations to offset their emissions. With 141 registered offset projected located in 45 U.S. states and Mexico, the Reserve has developed a significant volume of CRTs to meet the growing demand for offsets in both the voluntary and regulated carbon markets, including California’s upcoming cap-and-trade program.
The project that pushed the total CRT tally beyond 25 million is the 200-acre Granger South Jordan Landfill Gas Destruction Project located in the Salt Lake area of Utah. Landfills release methane, a greenhouse gas that is 20 times more powerful at trapping heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide. This Utah landfill captures methane gas and sends it to an energy plant for combustion or destroys it onsite.
“With 25 million metric tons of GHG emissions reductions achieved to date, the Climate Action Reserve has demonstrated the viability of the carbon market in mitigating climate change in a cost-efficient manner,” said Linda Adams, Chair of the Reserve Board of Directors. “As more companies look to reduce their impact on the environment, they are turning to the most trusted carbon offsets program. The stringent standards, transparent processes and multi-stakeholder participation that the Reserve employs have earned market confidence that its emissions reductions are real, additional and permanent.”
From small businesses to international corporations, many organizations – including Sokol Blosser Winery, UPS, Google, NHL and Lollapalooza – are using Reserve offsets to reduce their impact on the environment and meet their sustainability goals. Of the 25 million issued CRTs, 3.5 million have been retired by organizations and individuals to offset their GHG emissions.
“We are proud to include Reserve offsets in our sustainability plan for carbon neutrality,” stated Matt Ellis, Associate Director of Sustainability at CBRE. “As the world’s largest commercial real estate services company, CBRE has strived to reduce our environmental footprint when possible and mitigate emissions that are unavoidable. Reserve offsets have been instrumental to our effort. The Reserve provides some of the highest quality carbon offset projects in the world, and has enabled us to make investments in emissions reduction projects in communities we serve.”
The Climate Action Reserve carbon offset program launched in May 2008, under its then-parent organization the California Climate Action Registry, to encourage market-based solutions to achieve GHG emissions reductions. The Reserve worked to ensure the environmental integrity, financial value and liquidity supply in the North American carbon market. The Reserve program encompasses 11 project protocols approved for use throughout the United States and two project protocols for use in Mexico that address emissions reductions from forests, urban forests, livestock operations, landfills, coal mines, organic waste digestion, composting, nitric acid plants, ozone depleting substances and rice cultivation.
In a strong testament to the high quality of the Reserve program, the California Air Resources Board (ARB) adopted four Reserve protocols (forest, urban forest, livestock and ozone depleting substances) into the state’s cap-and-trade program. The use of offset credits generated through these protocols will allow for cost-efficient compliance by regulated entities, increased investment in low-carbon technologies, growth of green jobs and skillsets, and the integration of a broader range of our economy in the fight against climate change. The Reserve is currently the only registry whose standards have been adopted by the ARB.