For Cap-and-Trade, the Early Birds Got the Worms…or Credits

September 1, 2016

California’s pioneering cap-and-trade program achieved an important and symbolic milestone yesterday when the California Air Resources Board (ARB) handed out the final issuance of ARB Offset Credits (ARBOCs) to early action projects. In total, 24,062,879 ARBOCs were issued by the program to early action projects, 22,105,093 (92%) of which came from projects registered with the Climate Action Reserve.

These early action credits served important functions for the start and advancement of the program. The volume helped provide an initial supply of offset credits, which made compliance more economic, lessened compliance costs passed down to consumers and encouraged emission reduction activities from non-capped sectors. The credits also recognized the value and impact of existing, high quality offset projects. Perhaps most importantly, ARB’s recognition of the value of early actions confirmed the wisdom and commitments demonstrated by many stakeholders to take positive actions on climate change before the cap-and-trade program was fully defined.

The majority of early action ARBOCs was issued to forest projects. The numerous benefits of forest offset projects and their charismatic appeal are well known. The Usal Redwood Forest project was the largest early action project, receiving the largest number of credits with over 4.6 million issued. The project previously earned recognition from the Climate Action Reserve when the Usal Redwood Forest Company of California (URFC) was awarded the 2015 Project Developer of the Year Award. The project achieved the highest level of emissions reduction of any project registered with the Climate Action Reserve that year.

It is projects like the Usal Redwood Forest project and many others that helped the cap-and-trade program get off to a solid start and create confidence for market participants. The Climate Action Reserve congratulates these projects and ARB in achieving today’s milestone.

Forest ODS Livestock Mine Methane Rice* Urban Forest
2013 1,640,262 1,938,052 71,154 0 0 0
2014 1,172,097 3,077,701 545,502 0 0 0
2015 4,893,207 1,157,002 863,553 768,633 0 0
2016 5,534,845 75,000 214,820 2,111,051 0 0
TOTAL 13,240,411 6,247,755 1,695,029 2,879,684 0 0

*Early action credits under the Rice Protocol may be issued through December 31, 2016.