Reserve FAQs

Reserve FAQs Protocol FAQs

    RELATIONSHIP/INTERACTIONS WITH OTHER ORGANIZATIONS

  1. Q: How is the Climate Action Reserve different from the California Climate Action Registry? Is the California Registry also certifying carbon offsets?
    A: The Climate Action Reserve was previously named the California Climate Action Registry (California Registry). It began as a program of the California Registry and became the parent organization in April 2009. While the California Registry focused on GHG emission inventories, the Reserve is focused on developing standardized GHG reduction project protocols, serving as a registry for GHG reduction projects, and tracking GHG offsets through a publicly accessible database.
  2. Q: How is The Climate Registry different from the Climate Action Reserve?
    A: The Climate Registry is a sister organization of the Climate Action Reserve that supports entity-wide GHG emissions inventory reporting and verification for all of North America. It does not support the registration or tracking of GHG emission reduction projects. More information is available at www.theclimateregistry.org.
  3. Q: What is your relationship with NYSE Blue?
    A: NYSE Blue is the software provider for the Reserve. NYSE Blue also handles the billing, transactions and payments that occur through the Reserve.
  4. Q: Do you accept CDM methodologies as approved Reserve protocols? Do you recognize Gold Standard projects?
    A: No. Only project protocols that are developed by the Climate Action Reserve are accepted for use in our system. The Reserve often looks to CDM methodologies as a starting point for our protocols, but CDM methodologies (on which the Gold Standard relies) do not have the standardized additionality and/or baseline criteria that are built into our protocols. CDM methodologies are also designed for projects in developing countries, which are not always appropriate for use in the United States.
  5. Q: What is the difference between the Climate Action Reserve and the Chicago Climate Exchange?
    A: The Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) operated from 2003 to 2010 as a voluntary, for-profit GHG trading system. Under this system, CCX members agreed to legally binding voluntary GHG reduction targets. To comply with those targets, which were set as a percentage of a historical baseline, members had to either reduce their emissions internally or purchase tradable allowances or offset credits from other members who had generated GHG reductions. The CCX developed its own set of protocols for quantifying and certifying emission reductions from offset projects. However, offset credits comprised only a fraction of the total number of tradable emission certificates issued by the CCX (the majority were emission allowances). The CCX now operates as the Chicago Climate Exchange Offsets Registry Program, which more closely resembles the Climate Action Reserve model but is based on CCX protocols. The Reserve is not an exchange, but rather a non-profit registry that serializes and tracks GHG reductions generated in adherence to our protocols and independently verified by accredited verification bodies. Although offset credits may be transferred between accounts in the Reserve registry, credits are not traded through the Reserve system and the Reserve plays no role in setting the price for CRTs.
  6. Q: Can the CRTs also be sold on CCX?
    A: CRTs cannot be sold on the CCX system. However, CRT futures can be traded on The Green Exchange and the Chicago Climate Futures Exchange (CCFE).
  7. Q: What is the relationship between the Reserve and CRS’s Green-e Climate program?
    A: The Climate Action Reserve is an Endorsed Program by Green-e Climate. Green-e Climate is a consumer protection program that provides certification for greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions sold to consumers on the retail market. This consumer-protection program strengthens the voluntary market by providing credible oversight of and transparency to retail offset products. Green-e Climate is a program of Center for Resource Solutions (CRS), a nonprofit that creates policy and market solutions to advance sustainable energy. Learn more about Green-e Climate at www.green-e.org/climate.
  8. Q: Is it possible to transfer projects to the Reserve from other registries?
    A: Eligible projects that have been registered with other registries may be transferred to the Reserve according to the rules and deadlines outlined in the Program Manual. In addition to completing program requirements, such as verification by a Reserve-approved verifier that the project meets the Reserve’s project protocol requirements, the project developer must also submit a Project Transfer Form and provide the Reserve with a signed Project Transfer Letter confirming that no additional emission reductions/removals will be registered for the project under its old registry while it is listed with the Reserve. For example, a livestock or landfill project could be transferred from another registry because the Reserve has protocols established for these kinds of projects. The project would only receive credits from the Reserve for the remainder of its crediting period (measured from the date the project started operation, not from the date of transfer). No credits for prior years issued under another program may be re-issued or transferred to the Reserve.
  9. VERIFIED CARBON STANDARD

  10. Q: What is the status of the relationship between the Climate Action Reserve and the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS)? Will Reserve methodologies be applicable under VCS, or will the certifications have any kind of reciprocity in the near future?
    A: The Reserve is the first GHG program in the United States to be approved by the VCS. Thus, all of the Reserve’s project protocols are approved methodologies under the VCS. This means that all reductions verified under Reserve protocols and registered as CRTs on the Reserve, excluding forestry, are eligible to be converted to Verified Carbon Units (VCUs). VCUs cannot, however, be converted to CRTs.
  11. Q: How does a project developer obtain VCS approval for a project using Reserve protocols? In which tracking system are the CRTs/VCUs credited?
    A: All projects registered on the Reserve are eligible for approval under the VCS and all CRTs issued by the Reserve, excluding forestry, are eligible for conversion to VCUs and tracking on a VCS-approved registry. No additional verification or approval is needed from VCS. More information on VCS is available at www.v-c-s.org/.
  12. Q: How will the Reserve interact with the VCS registries (Markit Environmental Registry, NYSE Blue, Caisse des Dépôts), which also provide for issuance, trading and retirement? How does the Reserve’s role as a registry differ?
    A: While the Reserve is an approved program under VCS, it is not an approved VCS registry. In order to create VCUs using the Reserve, a project developer would first register a project with the Reserve and have CRTs issued. The project developer would then request the CRTs to be transferred to a VCS-approved registry and re-issued as VCUs. Since the Reserve and the VCS registries use the same software provider, this transfer and re-issuance will be seamless.
  13. Q: Do you plan to automatically recognize a VCS-approved protocol?
    A: No. Although the VCS recognizes the protocols developed and credits issued by the Reserve, this recognition is only one-way. The Reserve does not issue credits for projects verified against protocols developed under other programs, or that use verifiers that have not been accredited by the Reserve.
  14. Q: Would new protocols automatically be VCS-approved as well?
    A: Yes. The Reserve is an approved program under VCS; this means VCS automatically recognizes all projects and protocols allowed by our program, including new protocols we develop in the future.
  15. Q: What kind of fee structure will be involved with transferring CRTs to the VCS registry?
    A: Under VCS Version 3, the conversion fee of GHG credits from approved GHG programs is $0.05/VCU. On the Reserve side, the $0.03/CRT transfer fee that is levied when moving CRTs between Reserve accounts also applies when transferring CRTs to a VCS registry.
  16. INTERACTION WITH GHG REGULATIONS

  17. Q: What happens to the Reserve if a federal mandate is established for offsets?
    A: While we cannot predict how or when the federal government will regulate GHG offsets, we are confident that we are developing a program and processes that will ultimately inform their actions. The Reserve has already been recognized as a source of high quality offsets by a number of government bodies. For example, the State of California has recognized four Reserve project protocols under its landmark Global Warming Solutions Act, AB 32, and Pennsylvania has named the Reserve as a recommended source of offsets for businesses operating in the state. We believe the Reserve is also well positioned to be a supplier of offsets for the Western Climate Initiative. All of this leads us to believe that the Reserve will be recognized by a federal offset program.
  18. Q: How do you expect the Reserve to interact with the Western Climate Initiative?
    A: Some of the offset protocols developed for the Reserve apply to project types that have been identified as “a priority for investigation and development” under a possible Western Climate Initiative (WCI) cap-and-trade program. These include manure management, forestry (afforestation/reforestation, forest management, and forest preservation/conservation), urban forestry, and landfill gas management. It is possible these protocols will be considered by WCI program designers. It is unclear right now whether there will be any broader form of interaction between the Reserve and WCI.
  19. Q: Is there any overlap with RGGI offset protocols? Can CRTs be used to meet RGGI requirements?
    A: Both the Reserve and the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) have performance-based offset protocols for landfill and livestock operations, and for re-foresting of land that has been out of forest cover for a minimum of 10 years (RGGI refers to this as afforestation). RGGI also has offset protocols for:
    • Reduction in emissions of sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) in the electric power sector
    • Reduction or avoidance of CO2 emissions from natural gas, oil, or propane end-use combustion due to end-use energy efficiency in the building sector
    CRTs are not eligible to meet RGGI reduction requirements. More information on RGGI’s offset program is available at www.rggi.org/offsets.
  20. ELIGIBLE PROJECTS

  21. Q: What kinds of projects are eligible for registration?
    A: Currently, the Reserve accepts the following project types:
    • Coal mine methane capture and destruction
    • Forest (reforestation, avoided conversion, improved forest management)
    • Landfill gas collection and destruction (U.S. and Mexico)
    • Livestock manure management gas capture and destruction (U.S. and Mexico)
    • Nitrogen management
    • Nitrous oxide abatement at nitric acid plants
    • Organic waste composting
    • Organic waste digestion (including co-digestion)
    • Ozone depleting substances destruction
    • Rice cultivation
    • Urban forest
    On our website you can view the list of protocols that have been adopted or are actively being developed. Also, we are continually exploring the possible development of protocols addressing other project types. More information about this process is available on the Future Protocol Development webpage.
  22. Q: Are fuel-switching projects (such as a boiler switching from coal to biomass or natural gas) eligible?
    A: No. Currently, we do not have any fuel-switching project protocols. Boiler efficiency (which includes some types of fuel switching) has been assessed through development of an issue paper which can be found on the Future Protocol Development webpage.
  23. Q: Do your protocols apply to projects outside of California?
    A: Yes. All of our project protocols apply to the entire U.S. We have also approved versions of our landfill and livestock protocols for projects located in Mexico. We plan to extend our project protocols to Mexico and Canada in the future.
  24. Q: Can I upgrade to a newer version of the protocol I am reporting under, e.g., from Landfill 3.0 to Landfill 4.0? What is the process?
    A: You may upgrade to a newer protocol with certain restrictions. 1) You must upgrade to the most recent version adopted by our Board and listed on our website. 2) Your project must be in conformance with all monitoring/metering requirements, calculations, and eligibility requirements of the newest version. If you choose to upgrade to the newest version, you do not need to notify the Reserve in advance. You will need to upgrade the monitoring plan and all project activities to be in conformance with the newest version and then notify the lead verifier so that the project may be verified to the correct standards.
  25. Q: Am I required to upgrade if there is a newer version of the protocol available?
    A: No, you may use the protocol version under which your project was listed for the duration of the crediting period. If errata and clarifications are released that correct or codify certain elements of the protocol version you are using, you must incorporate the errata and clarifications posted for that version.
  26. Q: How can I request a project variance?
    A: The Reserve will allow variances from protocol requirements only where Reserve staff determines that such variances are acceptable. Variances are only granted for deviations from requirements related to monitoring or measuring of GHG reductions or removals, not eligibility requirements or general methodological approaches specified in the protocol. To submit a project variance, the project developer must complete and submit a Request for Project Variance and pay a $1,000 fee. More details on the process can be found in the Program Manual.
  27. PROTOCOL DEVELOPMENT

  28. Q: When will new protocols be developed?
    A: New project types are always welcome for consideration. The Reserve uses an intensive multi-stakeholder process to develop its standardized project protocols. This process generally takes 9 to 12 months from start to finish. You may see what project protocols we are in the process of developing by visiting our Protocols webpage. Once the development process is initiated with the formation of a workgroup, the protocol in development will have its own webpage with additional information on timeline, workgroups, contact information, background resources, etc.
  29. Q: How would one go about suggesting a new protocol?
    A: The Reserve welcomes your ideas for new project protocols. The project concept submission and review process is described in detail on the Future Protocol Development webpage. Previously submitted concepts and commissioned issue papers are also listed on that webpage and should be reviewed prior to new concept submission. If a similar concept has not been previously submitted, a completed Project Concept Submission Form can then be emailed to policy staff and the submissions are reviewed monthly.
  30. Q: What decides the future protocols you will create? Is it linked to what types of projects are most prevalent in California?
    A: While the Reserve is located in California, it is international in its scope. We use an internal screening process to identify candidate project types with good potential as carbon offsets across the United States, Mexico, and Canada. The Reserve takes into consideration a number of issues when assessing a project type for development and they are described in detail on the Future Protocol Development webpage.
  31. Q: If a methodology is created by another entity, can it be submitted to the Reserve for approval?
    A: All protocols that are adopted by the Climate Action Reserve Board need to go through our multi-stakeholder development process, regardless of whether the methodology has been accepted by another program or registry. You can submit methodologies created by other entities through our project concept submission process, described on the Future Protocol Development webpage. If we decide to move forward with the project type, the methodology would become the starting point for the protocol development process. Having a fully-developed methodology to start with could speed up the development process significantly.
  32. Q: Do your protocols include any type of financial additionality requirement?
    A: Our protocols assess project additionality using a technology or performance threshold (Performance Standard Test) and a regulatory additionality test (Legal Requirement Test). For each of our protocols, a threshold analysis addresses the issue of financial additionality by identifying a class of projects or activities that may be considered “business as usual,” taking into account common practice and other variables. Projects that fall within this class are presumed to be financially viable without access to GHG credits, i.e., not additional. Projects outside of this class are presumed to be additional as long as they are not required by law. The development of a performance threshold is a data intensive endeavor, but once the threshold is established it provides a more streamlined and objective means for determining project additionality than the financial examination of individual projects.
  33. Q: Who is the "public" that reviews protocols?
    A: There are no restrictions on who may comment during review periods. We hold a 30-day public review and comment period during the development process for each of our protocols. We distribute the notice of the public review period to the Reserve newsletter mailing list and to Reserve account holders. During the public review period we also hold an in-person public workshop with conference call and webcast capabilities. Click here to add your e-mail address to our mailing list.
  34. Q: How does one get on your stakeholder workgroup, or outside expert review group? What criteria do you use to select “outside experts”?
    A: The Reserve’s protocol development process is stakeholder-driven; we rely on outside experts and interested parties from business, government, the non-profit sector, industry, and academia to guide the development of protocols. Each protocol development effort begins with either a scoping meeting or a kick-off meeting, where we ask attendees to express their interest in participating as a workgroup member or an expert reviewer. We also send announcements to our mailing list to solicit interest when we begin the protocol development process. Workgroups are then formed by invitation to ensure a well-balanced mix of representatives, selected based on their relevant experience and expertise in the protocol subject matter and their knowledge of the GHG market, financing, technology, research, standard practices and GHG accounting related to the project type.
  35. Q: Do the protocols include criteria for social or other environmental impacts of the projects?
    A: Positive social and environmental impacts are not quantified in the Reserve protocols. However, these positive "co-benefits" are considered during the protocol scoping process. The Reserve strives to develop protocols for project types which have the potential to improve not only the climate system, but other environmental issues as well. The Reserve’s protocols do not require additional social or environmental benefits from a project, but steps are taken to ensure that GHG projects do not exacerbate or cause other environmental problems, or conflict with existing environmental regulations. All project protocols contain provisions for verifying that projects registered with the Reserve comply with all local, state, and national environmental regulations. Individual protocols may also encourage GHG project developers to consider and report on potential environmental co-benefits of GHG projects, such as reductions in other air pollutants, improvements in water quality, enhancement of wildlife habitat, etc.
  36. EXPANSION OF PROTOCOLS TO MEXICO

  37. Q: What is the timeline to make some of the existing protocols applicable in Mexico?
    A: We are taking a phased approach to adapting protocols for use in Mexico. Our first priority was to adapt the Landfill Project Protocol and the Livestock Project Protocol for use in Mexico, both of which were adopted on July 1, 2009. Currently, we are adapting the Forest Project Protocol for use in Mexico.
  38. Q: In the future, will the Reserve accept projects located in other countries aside from Mexico, such as Colombia, Brazil, Chile, etc.?
    A: We are concentrating our efforts on expanding the Reserve and its protocols to cover projects throughout North America. As of yet, there are no plans to expand to other countries beyond Mexico, except in the case of the destruction of ozone depleting substances (ODS) sourced in Article 5 countries and imported to the U.S. for destruction.
  39. ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND RENEWABLE ENERGY

  40. Q: Will the Reserve be developing protocols for energy efficiency projects?
    A: We will not be developing protocols for energy efficiency projects that reduce consumption of grid electricity. The majority of the reductions would occur at facilities (i.e., power plants) not owned or controlled by project developers. Because of this, it can be difficult to establish ownership for the reductions, and the reductions may be prone to double-counting. This would be particularly true if a regulatory cap-and-trade program is imposed on the power sector. The Reserve has chosen to focus on project types for which ownership to reductions is relatively easy to establish and where double counting – now and in the future – is unlikely.
  41. Q: The Gold Standard only accepts renewable energy and energy efficiency projects, and is viewed as a high-quality offset standard. Why does the Reserve’s position on renewable energy and energy efficiency differ so sharply from the Gold Standard?
    A: The Gold Standard was originally developed as a high-quality overlay to officially registered Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects, and its provisions and requirements are therefore largely tailored to a developing country context. The Reserve focuses on offsets primarily in the United States and eventually all of North America. Although we believe that U.S. investment in renewable energy and energy efficiency will be critical to mitigating climate change, there are several reasons why we are not focusing on grid-connected renewable energy and energy efficiency projects as a way to generate carbon offsets. The primary reason is that once an emissions cap is in place for the power sector, it will not be possible to issue offset credits for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects that affect emissions at capped power plants because doing so would result in the double counting of emission reductions. As a policy matter, the Reserve has chosen to focus on project types that affect sources, sinks, and reservoirs of GHG emissions that are unlikely to be covered under U.S. cap-and-trade programs in the near term.
  42. Q: You can get renewable energy certificates (RECs) along with CRTs from one project. Some standards require RECs be forgone to qualify as an offset in order to avoid double counting of the destruction. Why does the Reserve allow a project to earn both CRTs and RECs?
    A: You may be able to generate both CRTs and RECs from a methane destruction project because the CRT is created by capturing and destroying the methane (i.e. the GHG reduction that comes from turning CH4 into biogenic CO2), while the REC is generated by using the energy from that destruction to create renewable energy. Our livestock and landfill project protocols do not require project developers to generate energy, but rather to destroy the methane. We agree that you should not create both a GHG offset and a REC from the same activity (e.g., the sale of renewable electricity), but methane destruction and electricity generation are two separate activities resulting in separate types of GHG reductions.
  43. VERIFICATION

  44. Q: Can an accredited verification body provide technical assistance to a client on one project and be the verification body on another non-related project with the same client? A: It depends. For every project it intends to verify, the verification body must complete a Conflict of Interest form that the Reserve reviews. The Reserve makes a case-by-case determination on the potential for conflict of interest between the parties involved. In this scenario, it would depend on the nature of the technical assistance, what staff is proposed to serve as verifier and their past relationship with the client, whether the projects are for the same sector, the size of each contract, etc. For more details please refer to the Verification Program Manual, which can be found here.
  45. Q: Do your protocols require validation and verification (like CDM projects), or only verification? A: While we do not use the term "validation" in our process, verification activities during the first year of a project include both validation and verification activities. First, the verification body must determine that the project is eligible according to the specific eligibility rules in the relevant project protocol (this is similar to project validation under other programs). Second, the verification body reviews the project monitoring, record-keeping, and quantification methodologies to assure that reported GHG reductions/removals are accurate. Therefore, both validation and verification activities occur under our first-year verification procedures.
  46. Q: What is the average verification cost per project? A: The cost of verification is highly dependent on a number of factors including: the size and complexity of the project, how well the project documents and records are organized, the number of years being verified, etc. Different project types also require different types of monitoring, which affects the cost of verification. Here is the current list of accredited verification bodies if you would like to seek out a quote on a particular project.
  47. Q: How is regulatory compliance verified? A: All project protocols contain provisions for verifying that projects registered with the Reserve comply with all local, state, and national regulations. Project developers are required to 1) sign an Attestation of Regulatory Compliance that states the project is in compliance with all applicable regulations, and 2) disclose specific regulations to which the project is subject. While verification bodies are not required to conduct a full regulatory audit as part of verification, they do use the information provided by the project developer and their professional expertise to assess the project’s regulatory compliance.
  48. Q: How soon after a project begins operation can it be verified? A: Most projects require at least annual verification but the project developer may choose to verify more frequently. A project may be verified as soon as there are reduction tonnes to be verified. Some developers may choose to have their project verified when operations begin, just to make sure everything is being done correctly, but this is not required. The exception to this is forest projects, which may not be verified sub-annually.
  49. Q: As a project developer, do you need to verify the quantity of CRTs each year, or will the Reserve assign a yearly CRT production level for the life of the project? A: The Reserve will only issue CRTs after a project undergoes a successful verification and the emission reductions reported by the project developer have been checked for accuracy. As most projects require annual verification, we expect new CRTs to be issued for most projects on a yearly basis. However, new CRTs are not automatically issued to a registered project – verification of those tonnes must occur before CRTs are issued. Please refer to the Verification Program Manual and individual project protocols for guidance on the requirements for each project type.
  50. Q: Are consultants that provide technical assistance on a project also required to be accredited? A: No. The only part of the process for which you are required to hire an accredited third party is for verification. There are no accreditation requirements for individuals or organizations you hire to provide you with technical assistance.
  51. Q: Do project verification bodies have to be accredited by ANSI? A: By the end of 2010, all verification bodies had to be accredited under ISO 14065 or enrolled in the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) accreditation program to be eligible to conduct verification activities for the Reserve program in the United States. The Reserve also requires that verification bodies successfully complete sector-specific project protocol training courses to conduct verifications. More details on verification body accreditation can be found here.
  52. Climate Reserve Tonnes (CRTs)

  53. Q: How many CRTs are issued per ton of carbon reduction? A: One CRT is equal to one metric ton (tonne) of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emission reductions.
  54. Q: Do you track the price paid for CRTs? A: No. The Reserve is not an exchange and therefore does not track or report on the price paid for CRTs. Buyers and sellers negotiate a price outside of the Reserve, and then use the Reserve to transfer CRTs from one account to another. We do not require disclosure from our account holders on the price paid per CRT.
  55. Q: Can you provide an estimate for pricing on CRTs? A: While the Reserve does not track the price of CRTs, it is also possible to view prices for CRT futures being traded on The Green Exchange and the CCFE.
  56. Q: How do I sell CRTs once they are in my account? Is there a specific contract template that we should use? A: All sales happen over-the-counter between buyers and sellers. At the moment there is no template contract for the sale or transfer of CRTs. However, we may develop one in the future.
  57. Q: Can CRTs generated inside California be traded outside California (e.g. as an offset for a project in a different state)? A: For voluntary transactions, the answer is yes. If the question is whether CRTs may be recognized for regulatory compliance in another state, that will depend on whether the other state allows and/or recognizes CRTs as offsets in their program. Under California’s cap-and-trade program, offsets may be used to meet a portion of an entity’s compliance obligations, and offset projects under the four approved compliance protocols may be located outside of California. In addition, Pennsylvania has named the Reserve as a recommended source of offsets for businesses operating in the state.
  58. Q: What is the lifespan of a CRT? Do they expire? A: CRTs do not expire – they represent a permanent reduction or removal of GHG emissions from the atmosphere. They can be retired, however, meaning that those CRTs cannot be traded again.
  59. Q: What does it mean to retire CRTs? Can they be reactivated? A: Retirement means CRTs have been permanently removed from further transactions after being used to offset an equivalent tonne of emissions. Retirement of CRTs is necessary to ensure that the environmental benefit actually occurs. Because of this, retirement is permanent. Once a CRT is transferred into a retirement account, it cannot be reactivated and transferred again.
  60. Q: Are there any requirements for when CRTs must be retired? A: No, the Reserve does not require CRTs to be retired. This is the choice of the account holder. However, buyers who have purchased CRTs for the benefit of the environment or for mitigation purposes can check to see if CRTs have been retired on their behalf through the Reserve’s public reports. Please also see the next FAQ section for more information regarding CRT ownership and retirement.
  61. Q: Can I register ex ante credits? A: No. The Reserve only issues CRTs on an ex post basis; that is, the Reserve does not issue CRTs for a project until after the reduction/removal has taken place and has been verified by an accredited third party.
  62. Q: How do you ensure that CRTs issued are real? A: Our protocols include numerous mechanisms to ensure that emission reductions from a project are real and credible, including the performance standard and legal requirement tests; rigorous emission reduction quantification methodologies; provisions to address leakage, permanence, and ownership; and the requirement for third-party verification.
  63. Q: Can CRTs be issued "retroactively" for projects that are already complete or underway? A: It depends. When a new project protocol is approved, projects with a start date as early as 24 months prior to the effective date of the new protocol are eligible for 12 months to list their project on the Reserve. Projects implemented more than 24 months prior are not eligible for registration on the Reserve. The 12-month eligibility period for existing projects is intended to provide “early actors” (those that implemented a GHG reduction project prior to the existence of an approved protocol for their project activity) enough time to list their project. After this initial 12-month period, only new projects (submitted no more than 6 months after their start date) are eligible. Protocols issued before the adoption of the Reserve's start date policy have slightly different rules. Refer to the language within each specific protocol for the start date requirements for those projects. If you are unsure of your project’s eligibility, please contact policy@climateactionreserve.org.
  64. Q: Is there a minimum amount of CRTs per project? What is a cost effective amount of CRTs for a project? A: There is not a minimum amount of CRTs required per project. The cost effectiveness of projects varies per project type with the low end being around a few thousand CRTs per year.
  65. Q: Will CRT transfers on the Reserve be completed before payment of the transfer fee is actually made? A: Yes. The CRT transfer will be complete once the seller has transferred the CRTs to the buyer’s account and the buyer has accepted them. Sellers are invoiced on a monthly basis for all CRT issuance and transfer fees.
  66. Q: Some registries require registration of the project for the entire project life. Can I register a project for CRTs for only a portion of the project life, and register under another standard for the other periods? A: Yes. Project developers may transfer a project from the Reserve to another registry by submitting a signed Project Transfer Letter to the Reserve which specifies the effective date of transfer and confirmation that no further emission reductions will be verified or registered with the Reserve. Project information and previously issued CRTs will remain in the Reserve system. See the Reserve Program Manual for further details and requirements.
  67. Q: Do you know of any sales taxes that apply to transfers of CRTs? A: We recommend contacting your tax advisor regarding the tax consequences of transferring CRTs.
  68. Q: Does the Reserve ever take ownership of any CRTs? A: No, the Reserve does not own CRTs, nor is it involved in project development, financially or otherwise. The Reserve has created a blind trust for the organization and its staff to purchase and retire carbon credits.
  69. ACCOUNTS ON THE RESERVE

  70. Q: Should individuals invest in CRTs?
    It is important that investors understand the risks associated with the purchase of environmental commodities, including voluntary carbon offsets like CRTs. Unlike instruments approved for use in regulatory cap-and-trade programs, CRTs cannot be used for compliance in such programs. There is little ability to accurately forecast future demand and prices in the voluntary carbon offset market. As a result, the Reserve strongly believes that CRTs are not suited for individuals as investments. This view is shared by the UK Financial Services Authority, as well as the International Carbon Reduction and Offset Alliance.

    Pursuant to the California cap-and-trade program being implemented by the California Air Resources Board (ARB), certain categories and vintages of CRTs may be eligible as early action offsets for conversion to regulatory offset credits (ARB Offset Credits). Once converted and approved by the ARB, these credits may be used for compliance by regulated entities under California’s cap-and trade program. To date, only CRTs issued in connection with the four ARB-approved early action protocols (U.S. Forest, Urban Forest, Ozone Depleting Substances, and Livestock) are eligible to be converted to ARB Offset Credits. Here too, information on future demand and prices is limited, making such offsets unsuitable for individual investors.

    Individuals may be interested in purchasing and retiring CRTs and other voluntary carbon offsets for the purpose of balancing out emissions from their activities, such as travel and energy consumption. When doing so, individuals should choose and purchase offsets from a credible offsets provider that ensures the environmental integrity of its emissions reductions. Be sure to choose a provider that discloses full documentation on where the offsets came from and how they were generated. For example, full documentation on projects registered with the Reserve is available online, so buyers and members of the public can be assured the offsets generated are real, permanent, additional, verifiable and enforceable. To contact a trusted source that sells CRTs to individuals for the purpose of offsetting personal emissions, please see our CRT Marketplace.

    If you are an individual who has been marketed CRTs as an investment or if you have any other questions, please contact the Reserve at programs@climateactionreserve.org or by phone at 213-891-1444 and press 2 to reach the Programs team.
  71. Q: Who is allowed to register a project?
    A: In order to register a project on the Reserve, you must have a project developer account. Any person or organization may obtain a project developer account regardless of location or affiliation. To establish an account, visit our account registration webpage. There is a $500 annual account maintenance fee for project developers.
  72. Q: Can you establish an "observer" account if you are not yet in the market?
    A: No. There is no “observer” account type in the Reserve. Detailed information about registered projects is publicly available for interested parties without an account. Accounts are only needed to register, verify, transfer, and retire CRTs, and having an account does not provide access to additional information about other projects that is not available to the public.
  73. Q: Who can be a project reviewer?
    A: There are different types of accounts in the Reserve software, one of which is a project reviewer. Project reviewers are individuals that have been asked by the Reserve to review a project as part of the Reserve’s oversight of project registration and verification. These individuals may be experts in the project sector, representatives from the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), Reserve contractors, etc. Note that a project reviewer has “read only” access to information, and cannot make any changes to information or values within the Reserve. Project reviewers can only access information for the projects it has been granted access to by the Reserve.
  74. Q: If I have a project developer account, do I also need a trader/broker account to buy, sell, and retire on the Reserve?
    A: No. Project developer account holders are able to buy, sell and retire CRTs on the Reserve.
  75. Q: Why is such a high level of transparency and public access necessary to the program?
    A: Transparency is one of the key principles of the Reserve. This transparency provides interested parties with valuable information, helps inspire confidence in our GHG projects, and brings credibility to the Reserve itself. The public can access the following information online:
    • Participating companies: Lists organizations that have an active Reserve account but does not include address or contact information.
    • Projects: Displays projects that are listed, verified, and registered with the Reserve. Does not display any cancelled or rejected projects.
    • Project CRTs issued: Shows projects for which CRTs have been issued and the original CRT issuance quantity. Does not indicate the current status of the project CRT balance.
    • Search serial numbers: Allows searching for a serial number by batch number or block start or end numbers. This search feature is designed for someone (for example, a CRT buyer) who wants see details about a given CRT batch. It cannot be used to search every CRT issued for a company or project. Search results include whether the CRTs are active or retired and, if retired, the time and date of retirement.
    • Retired CRTs: Displays the CRTs that have been retired by account holders.
    All of these reports may be accessed here. The Reserve never shares contact or billing information with anyone, or discloses the CRT balance in each account.
  76. Q: Can I hold CRTs in my active accounts on behalf of someone else?
    A: It depends. This activity is only possible for account holders who qualify as "regulated persons," such as banks. Please refer to the Terms of Use, available here, for more details. For all other account holders, all CRTs in the active account must be owned by the account holder. If you sell a CRT to a buyer, they become the “beneficial owner” of those reductions, even if they are not a Reserve account holder. If CRTs are sold, they must be transferred to the buyer or put into a retirement account.
  77. Q: What is a “beneficial owner”?
    A: A “beneficial owner” has the benefits of ownership of a security or property even though the title is in another name. For example, when an investor purchases stocks from a brokerage firm, they become the beneficial owner of those stocks, even though the brokerage firm remains the actual official owner in the system-of-record. In the case of CRTs, the beneficial owner has the right to use those reductions to offset their own GHG footprint.
  78. Q: Can I retire CRTs in my retirement account on behalf of someone else?
    A: Yes, but there are limitations. If an account holder retires 100 or more CRTs for the same individual or organization within a calendar year, they must disclose the buyer’s name and contact email address to the Reserve, though this information is kept confidential. If an account holder retires 100,000 or more CRTs for the same individual or organization within a calendar year, the buyer’s information is no longer considered confidential and may be made public at the Reserve’s discretion. These policies are meant to uphold the integrity and accountability of the system. For more information please refer to the Climate Action Reserve Terms of Use.
  79. FEES

  80. Q: What sorts of costs are associated with placing projects on the Reserve?
    A: There are two types of costs for registering projects on the Reserve – administrative costs paid to the Reserve and the costs for implementing and annually verifying your project. The cost of implementing and verifying a project can vary depending on the project type, size of project, etc. The current list of accredited verification bodies can be found here.
  81. Q: Why are the fees required? What does it support?
    A: All of the fees collected based on our fee schedule cover the operating expenses of the Reserve, including software maintenance and updates, staff time and protocol development. The Climate Action Reserve is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) registered in the state of California.
  82. Q: Do you pay an account fee every year over the life of the project (i.e. for a forest project, do you pay $500 every year for 100 years)?
    A: You must pay an account maintenance fee annually for as long as you are an account holder. The only exception is that there is no account maintenance fee for verification bodies.
  83. Q: Why is the seller responsible for paying the $0.03/CRT trade fee when other registries typically put that on the buyer?
    A: Different registries approach this in different ways. Because the seller is receiving the funds from a transaction, we felt it was appropriate to put this fee on the seller.
  84. SOFTWARE

  85. Q: How can I set up an account?
    A: From the Reserve’s homepage, click on the “Open an Account” tab and choose the account type at the bottom of the page. After agreeing to the Terms of Use, you may submit the account for approval in our system.
  86. Q: What if I forget my password?
    A: Account holders with an active login may contact the Programs team at (213) 891-1444 ext. 2 or reserve@climateactionreserve.org to reset the password.
  87. Q: Can I manage an account on behalf of someone else?
    A: When setting up an account, a third party can sometimes be listed as the Account Manager and main point of contact for the account. If this individual or organization is different than the Account Holder name, both parties must sign and submit the standardized Designation of Authority form to reserve@climateactionreserve.org.
  88. Q: How can I set up multiple logins to have other members of my organization access our Reserve account
    A: Once you have set up an account, and it has been approved in our system, you should see several modules on your screen when you login, including “Account Management.” Under this heading, click on the link titled “Review/Edit/Add Logins.” Here you may add other logins with varying levels of access.
  89. Q: What if I cannot see the Account Management module when I login to my account?
    A: At the top of your home screen, you should see a link that says “Customize Page.” Click here to edit which modules appear on the homepage of your account, including “Account Management.”
  90. Q: How can I see the details of an invoice (e.g. service to which fee applies, etc.)?
    A: Login to your account and look for the “My Reports” module on the left hand side. Click on the “My Invoices” link. Here you will see a list of all pending and paid invoices. You may click on the invoice number next to each one for details and a full, printable invoice.