California Compliance Offset Program

California made history in 2006 when it passed the Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32), which calls for the state to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.  A key component to achieve this reduction is the state’s Cap-and-Trade Program, the only economy-wide carbon market in the U.S. and one of the largest markets in the world.  The Climate Action Reserve is honored to have earned approval from the Air Resources Board (ARB) to serve as an Offset Project Registry for the Compliance Offset Program under the Cap-and-Trade Program.

As an approved Offset Project Registry (OPR), the Reserve can issue Registry Offset Credits under ARB Compliance Offset Protocols.  Registry Offset Credits are not compliance instruments under the Cap-and-Trade Program.  They must first be transitioned into ARB Offset Credits to be used for compliance under the program.  With extensive experience and expertise in administering carbon offset projects under our rigorous early action and voluntary offset protocols, the Reserve is well-qualified to advance the environmental integrity, efficiency and effectiveness of California’s compliance offset program.

Working with the Reserve

As an Offset Project Registry, the Reserve is authorized to provide its services under the Cap-and-Trade Program’s Compliance Offset Protocols.  These services include listing projects and issuing Registry Offset Credits, which may later be submitted to ARB for final evaluation and issuance of ARB Offset Credits.  To learn more about the Reserve’s role, please see Working with the Reserve.

Early Action Offset Projects

To ensure that voluntary reductions received appropriate credit and to help create an initial supply of offset credits for California’s Cap-and-Trade Program, the Compliance Offset Program allowed for Early Action Offset Credits (EAOCs) under approved voluntary offset protocols. These credits must have met requirements provided in §95990 of the Cap-and-Trade Regulation and the Air Resources Board (ARB) required these credits not to have been retired or used to meet another obligation.

The Climate Action Reserve served as an Early Action Offset Program. In this role, the Reserve issued offset credits that qualified as Early Action Offset Credits and transitioned to ARB Offset Credits under the following ARB-approved voluntary offset protocols:

To date, the Reserve issued 22,105,093 Early Action Offset Credits that successfully transitioned to ARB Offset Credits.

Compliance Offset Projects

Compliance Offset Projects must be listed with an approved Offset Project Registry, like the Reserve, to be eligible to earn ARB Offset Credits.  To learn more about submitting Compliance Offset Projects, issuance of Registry Offset Credits, transferring Registry Offset Credits to ARB Offset Credits, and transferring projects to Compliance Offset Protocols, please see Register a Compliance Offset Project.


For a list of resources related to the Compliance Offset Program and the Reserve’s role as an Offset Project Registry, please visit the Resources section.

ARB Forms

ARB has developed forms for use in the Compliance Offset Program.  These forms may be used by program participants for submitting information related to listing, reporting, verification and issuance of ARB Offset Credits.  To access these forms, please see ARB Forms or visit ARB’s Compliance Offset Program Forms web page on its website.

Reserve Contact Information

For questions about Registry Offset Credits or the Reserve’s role as an Offset Project Registry, please contact the Reserve at [email protected] or 213.891.1444 ext. 7.