THE RESERVE’S ROLE IN CLIMATE REGULATIONS
ELIGIBLE VOLUNTARY PROJECTS
VOLUNTARY PROTOCOL DEVELOPMENT
ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND RENEWABLE ENERGY
CLIMATE RESERVE TONNES® (CRTs)
ACCOUNTS ON THE RESERVE
INDIVIDUALS AND OFFSETS
RELATIONSHIP/INTERACTIONS WITH OTHER ORGANIZATIONS
VERIFIED CARBON STANDARD
A: The Reserve is honored to serve as an Offset Project Registry (OPR) for California’s Cap-and-Trade Program. In this role, the Reserve lists projects and issues Registry Offset Credits (ROCs) under ARB Compliance Offset Protocols. The Reserve also served as an Early Action Offset Program and issued Early Action Offset Credits (EAOCs) under approved voluntary offset protocols to recognize early voluntary action to reduce emissions and to also help create an initial supply of offset credits for the program. The approved voluntary offset protocols were the Reserve’s U.S. Livestock Project Protocol Versions 1.0 through 3.0, Urban Forest Project Protocol Versions 1.0 through 1.1, U.S. Ozone Depleting Substances Project Protocol Version 1.0, Forest Project Protocol Versions 2.1 and 3.0 through 3. 2 and Coal Mine Methane Project Protocol Versions 1.0 through 1.1. Additionally, the first compliance offset protocols adopted by the California Air Resources Board were based on the Reserve’s Forest, Urban Forest, Livestock and US Ozone Depleting Substances Project Protocols. Today, the Reserve supports the cap-and-trade program as an OPR and informs the development of potential future compliance protocols by developing innovative and groundbreaking voluntary protocols and providing experienced feedback and advice during ARB’s protocol development and update process.
A: Under the California Cap-and-Trade Program, compliance entities may use ARB Offset Credits (ARBOCs) to meet up to eight percent of their compliance obligation for emissions through 2020, four percent for emissions from 2021-2025, and six percent for emissions from 2026-2030. Starting in 2021, at least half of the usage limit must come from projects that provide direct environmental benefits in the state (DEBS). CARB includes a DEBS flag in CITSS and the ARB Offset Credit Issuance Table to identify projects that meet DEBS requirements. Offset projects that are located within the State of California are automatically considered to provide direct environmental benefits in the state. Ozone depleting substance (ODS) projects with some California-sourced ODS will be classified as DEBS regardless of where the destruction occurred and without a minimum threshold of California-sourced ODS destroyed. Out-of-state projects can apply for DEBS determination by providing documentation in the form of peer reviewed scientific papers, reports from governmental or multinational bodies such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or project specific data and completing CARB’s Application for Direct Environmental Benefits Status form. Projects wishing to apply pursuant to section 95989(b) may complete and submit this form. New offset projects must submit the documentation during the first (initial) reporting period and existing offset projects have until December 31, 2021 to submit documentation for review. Once a project has been determined by CARB to provide DEBS, the project will be considered to provide DEBS for the duration of the project life.The Reserve is updating its offset project registry software to denote which projects meet DEBS criteria and support project developers in their applications for DEBS status.
A: The Reserve offset program was approved by the ICAO Council to provide eligible emissions units for CORSIA. Only credits generated from January 1, 2016 to December 31, 2020 are eligible to supply CORSIA’s pilot phase. Additionally, the credits are subject to an approved program’s scope of eligibility. The Reserve has also participated and continues to participate in working groups to support a rigorous, high quality program.
A: The pilot program for Mexico’s national ETS launched in January 2020 and runs through 2023. Currently, the Reserve is supporting Mexico’s Secretary of Environmental and Natural Resources (SEMARNAT) through two Partnership for Market Readiness (PMR) contracts to develop a Forest Offset Protocol and Livestock and Agriculture Offset Protocols for the compliance ETS.
A: The Western Climate Initiative (WCI, Inc.) is a non-profit corporation, and its mission is to support its participating states and provinces in their development and collaborative implementation of GHG trading programs. The Reserve supports WCI and its support of its participating jurisdictions. California is a participating jurisdiction of WCI, and the Reserve’s work directly supports the state’s Cap-and-Trade Program, which is linked to Québec’s.
A: Currently, RGGI states issue offset allowances under five project categories: landfill methane capture, sulfur hexafluoride, forestry or afforestation, end-use efficiency and avoided agricultural methane. Note that Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey and Vermont do not accept credits for sulfur hexafluoride, end-use efficiency and afforestation projects, and Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island no longer accept any offset project types. Offset projects must be located within one or more of the RGGI states that participate in the offsets program. CRTs are not eligible to meet RGGI reduction requirements. More information on RGGI’s offset program is available at www.rggi.org/allowance-tracking/offsets.
A: Currently, the Reserve accepts the following project types:
- Coal mine methane capture and destruction
- Forest (reforestation, avoided conversion, improved forest management)
- Grassland avoided conversion
- Landfill gas collection and destruction (U.S. and Mexico)
- Livestock manure management gas capture and destruction (U.S. and Mexico)
- Mexico boiler efficiency upgrades
- Mexico forest (reforestation and improved forest management)
- Nitrogen management
- Nitrous oxide abatement at nitric acid plants
- Organic waste composting
- Organic waste digestion (including co-digestion)
- Ozone depleting substances destruction (U.S. and Mexico)
- Rice cultivation
- Urban forest management
- Urban forest tree planting
A: No. Currently, we do not have any fuel-switching project protocols. Boiler efficiency, which includes some types of fuel switching, was assessed through development of a U.S.-specific issue paper that can be found on the Future Protocol Development webpage. Boiler efficiency upgrades are eligible activities in Mexico under the Mexico Boiler Efficiency Protocol. These types of project activities in the U.S. may be eligible in the future under the Climate Forward program.
A: Yes. Most of our project protocols apply to the entire U.S. We also have protocols for specific project types located in Mexico and Canada.
A: You may upgrade to a newer protocol with certain restrictions. 1) You must upgrade to the most recent version adopted by the Reserve Board of Directors and listed on the Reserve 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.
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.
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 $1,350 fee. More details on the process can be found in the Program Manual.
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 nine 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.
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 can also be accessed from 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. Submissions are reviewed monthly.
A: While the Reserve is headquartered 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.
A: All offset protocols that are adopted by the Climate Action Reserve Board of Directors 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.
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, meaning they are 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.
A: There are no restrictions on who may comment during public 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 distribution list and to Reserve account holders. During the public review period we also hold an in-person or virtual public workshop with conference call and webcast capabilities. Click here to add your e-mail address to our distribution list.
A: The Reserve’s protocol development process is stakeholder-driven; we rely on outside experts and interested parties from business, government, nonprofit organizations, industry, and academia to guide the development of protocols. Each protocol development effort begins with either a scoping meeting or a kick-off meeting, during which 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 who are 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.
A: Positive social and environmental impacts are considered during the protocol scoping process and several existing protocols do provide these kinds of co-benefits; however, they are not formally quantified in the Reserve protocols. The Reserve strives to develop protocols for project types that have the potential to improve not only the climate system but other environmental and social issues, as well. Additionally, 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. The Reserve also provides a separate reporting form to identify SDGs a project addresses.
A: Boiler efficiency, landfill, livestock, forestry and ODS.
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. Additionally, Reserve protocols may be used or adapted for use in Mexico’s ETS.
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 and Canada, 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.
A: Currently, the Canada Grassland Protocol is available for use in Canada.
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 in situations where 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.
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.
A: It depends. For every project it intends to verify, the verification body must complete a Conflict of Interest (COI) 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.
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, recordkeeping, 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.
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 and the number of years being verified. Different project types also require different types of monitoring, which affect 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.
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.
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.
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.
A: No. The only part of the process for which you are required to hire an accredited third party is verification. There are no accreditation requirements for individuals or organizations you hire to provide technical assistance.
A: By the end of 2010, all verification bodies had to be accredited under ISO 14065 or enrolled in the ANSI National Accreditation Board (ANAB, formerly the American National Standards Institute or 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.
A: One CRT is equal to one metric ton (tonne) of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) emission reductions.
A: No. The Reserve 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.
A: No. While the Reserve does not track the price of CRTs, it is possible to view prices for CRTs by contacting carbon exchanges such as CBL Markets and Intercontinental Exchange.
A: All sales happen over the counter (OTC) between buyers and sellers. The Reserve does not have a template contract for the sale or transfer of CRTs.
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, ARBOCs (not CRTs) may be used to meet a specific portion of an entity’s compliance obligations. In addition, Pennsylvania has named the Reserve as a recommended source of offsets for businesses operating in the state.
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.
A: Retirement means CRTs have been permanently removed from further transactions after being used to offset an equivalent ton 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.
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 FAQ section "Accounts on the Reserve" for more information regarding CRT ownership and retirement.
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. If you are interested in ex ante credits, please visit our Climate Forward program.
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 accredited, independent third-party verification.
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 six 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 [email protected].
A: There is no minimum number 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.
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.
A: Yes. Project developers may transfer a project from the Reserve to another registry by submitting to the Reserve a signed Project Transfer Letter, 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.
A: We recommend contacting your tax advisor regarding the tax consequences of transferring CRTs.
A: No, the Reserve neither owns CRTs nor is 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.
A: It is important that investors understand the risks associated with the purchase of environmental commodities, including voluntary carbon offsets like CRTs. CRTs are not compliance instruments and cannot be used for compliance in regulatory cap-and-trade programs. There is little ability to accurately forecast future demand and prices in the voluntary carbon offset market. As a result, CRTs are not suited for individuals as financial investments. This view is shared by the UK Financial Services Authority, as well as the International Carbon Reduction and Offset Alliance. 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 Carbon Market Directory. 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 [email protected] or by phone at (213) 891-1444 ext. 3 to reach the Analytical team.
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.
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.
A: There are different types of accounts in the Reserve program, 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 ANSI National Accreditation Board (ANAB, formerly the American National Standards Institute or ANSI) or Reserve contractors. 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 they have been granted access to by the Reserve.
A: No. Project developer account holders are able to buy, sell and retire CRTs.
A: Transparency is one of the key principles of the Reserve. This transparency provides interested parties with valuable information, confidence in our GHG reduction projects, and credibility to Reserve offset projects and CRTs. 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 to 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.
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.
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.
A: All of the Reserve fees from 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 nonprofit 501(c)(3) registered in the State of California.
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.
A: Different registries approach this in different ways. Because the seller is receiving the funds from a transaction, the Reserve felt it was appropriate to put this fee on the seller.
A: Account holders with an active login may contact the Reserve at (213) 891-1444 ext. 3 or [email protected] to reset the password.
A: When setting up an account, it is possible for a third party to 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 [email protected].
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.
A: At the top of your home screen, you should see the link "Customize Page." Click here to edit which modules appear on the homepage of your account, including "Account Management."
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.
A: The Reserve recently updated the account holder’s My Invoices report. For guidance on these changes, please refer to this guide or this video. Basic invoicing functionality remains the same, and account holders may still access and download invoices from their accounts. For any questions or any issues that may arise, please contact the Reserve Administrator at [email protected].
A: It is important that investors understand the risks associated with the purchase of environmental commodities, including voluntary carbon offsets like CRTs. CRTs are not compliance instruments and cannot be used for compliance in regulatory cap-and-trade programs. There is little ability to accurately forecast future demand and prices in the voluntary carbon offset market. As a result, CRTs are not suited for individuals as financial investments. This view is shared by the UK Financial Services Authority, as well as the International Carbon Reduction and Offset Alliance. 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 Carbon Market Directory. 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 [email protected] or by phone at (213) 891-1444 and press 2 to reach the Analytical team.
A: The first step is to estimate the GHG impacts from your trips and/or activities. This may be done using readily available online calculators.For flight emissions, the online calculator offered by the United Nation’s International Civil Aviation Organization and The Good Traveler, a partnership of U.S. airports, are helpful tools. In general, you are likely looking at small quantities. If using ICAO’s calculator, be sure to set it at the metric unit (kg), then divide the result by 1,000 to convert it to tonnes for estimating how many offsets you will need. For household emissions, there are tools offered by the U.S. EPA, CoolClimate, and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The Reserve does not own CRTs, so you will need to buy credits from one of our existing account holders. Many such entities are listed in our Carbon Market Directory and "Retailers" are best bets for small purchases. Some of these companies also offer their own GHG impact calculators. The Reserve does not track offset prices; however, offset credit prices may range from $2 - $15/tonne or more depending on project attributes (i.e. project type, location, additional benefits from the carbon project such as water quality improvement) and the credit seller. Some Retailers in our Carbon Market Directory have online platforms for buyers to view and select from projects in their portfolio and the platforms include pricing information. Finally, when buying CRTs to offset your emissions, ask the provider for the serial number(s) of the credits retired on your behalf. Every CRT has a unique serial number to prevent double counting. Retiring a credit means that it has been used to balance against emissions and is permanently taken off market circulation so the same credit cannot be used more than once to offset emissions. With the credit serial number, you can use the Reserve’s registry to confirm that the credit has been retired. You can look this information up in the registry’s Retirement Report by entering your serial number using the search icon.
A: The International Carbon Reduction and Offset Alliance (ICROA) is an international nonprofit initiative that sets the industry standard for carbon registry programs that meet internationally established best practices. Offset purchasers should confirm that carbon projects offered by a retailer are registered with a carbon standard that meets ICROA’s Code of Best Practices by going to the standard body’s online registry directly. A legitimate retailer should always disclose the carbon project standard and registry where the credits are issued. Ask for the project names, project IDs and serial numbers of the projects you are interested in purchasing from and then look up that ID in the registry.
A: Carbon offset credits must represent emissions reductions or removals that are 1) additional to business as usual practices, 2) permanent, 3) conservatively quantified, 4) not claimed by more than one entity to compensate for emissions, and 5) calculated based on sound, peer-reviewed methodologies and equations. For more in-depth reading on general principles of high-quality carbon offsets, check out the Greenhouse Gas Management Institute and Stockholm Environmental Institute’s resources via the Carbon Offset Guide. For a corporate perspective, the Environmental Defense Fund and World Wildlife Fund published a guide in June 2020, What Makes a High-Quality Carbon Credit? For a municipal perspective, the C40s network offers a guide to support cities looking to achieving citywide carbon neutrality, with a focus on using carbon offsets to address residual emissions.
A: The California Climate Action Registry (California Registry) is the legacy parent organization of the Climate Action Reserve. The California Registry was created from state legislation (SB 1771) and focused on GHG emission inventories. It accepted its last emissions reports and closed in December 2010. The Climate Action 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. It began as a program of the California Registry and became the parent organization in April 2009.
A: The Climate Registry 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.
A: No. Only project protocols that are developed by the Climate Action Reserve are accepted for use in our system.
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 GHG emission reductions sold to consumers on the retail market. The 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.
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.
A: The Reserve was the first GHG program in the United States to be approved by VCS. All of the Reserve’s project protocols, with the exception of forestry, are approved methodologies under 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). Also, Reserve protocols, with the exception of forestry, can be used for projects and programs registering with VCS. VCUs cannot, however, be converted to CRTs. For more information, please visit https://verra.org/methodology/car-protocols.
A: Projects and CRTs registered on the Reserve under eligible protocols 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 https://verra.org/methodologies. 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.
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.
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. For more information about VCS fees, please visit: https://verra.org/project/vcs-program/rules-and-requirements/.