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California Cap-and-Trade

Since 2012, ACR has operated as the leading Offset Project Registry (OPR) for the California Cap-and-Trade program.

About the California Offset Program

Since 2012, ACR has operated as the leading Offset Project Registry (OPR) for the California Cap-and-Trade program.

In this role, we support the California Air Resources Board (ARB) in the implementation of its offset program. This includes overseeing the listing and verification of carbon offset projects and the issuance of serialized Registry Offset Credits (ROCs) that can be converted to ARB Offset Credits (ARBOCs) and used by regulated entities towards meeting their emission reductions obligations in the Cap-and-Trade program.

Compliance Offset Projects

All compliance offset projects must be developed according to ARB approved Compliance Offset Protocols.

Offset Project Operators must list their offset projects with an approved Offset Project Registry such as ACR and be verified by an ARB accredited verifier to be eligible for ARB offset credits.

ARB Compliance Offset Protocols 

ARB has approved six Compliance Offset Protocols for projects based in the U.S. The ARB Compliance Offset Protocols and related documents for each are available for download from ARB’s Compliance Offset Program webpage. The currently approved project types are:

  • U.S. Forests
  • Urban Forests
  • Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS)
  • Livestock
  • Mine Methane Capture
  • Rice Cultivation
ARB Forms

Use the current versions of all ARB Forms for offset projects developed using ARB compliance offset protocols.

All Offset Project Operators must have an account on ARB’s Compliance Information Tracking System Service (CITSS). To protect CITSS account information, please make sure to submit a CITSS ID number and not a CITSS account number on all required forms. The CITSS ID number is two letters followed by four numbers (e.g. CA1234).

About Verification

The Cap-and-Trade regulation requires independent verification of all GHG reductions and removal enhancements issued as ROCs and converted to ARBOCs for use by capped entities.

The Cap-and-Trade Regulation includes requirements that verification bodies and offset verifiers must meet to be accredited by ARB to conduct regulatory verification.

ARB-Accredited Offset Verification Bodies and Offset Verifiers

An Offset Project Operator or Authorized Project Designee must obtain the services of an ARB-accredited verification body to perform offset verification services.

Compliance Verification Forms

To conduct offset verification services, offset verification bodies and offset verifiers need to submit information prior to and during verification activities. Before offset verification services may begin the verification body must submit information for a Notice of Offset Verification Services (NOVS) to ARB and the applicable Offset Project Registry with which the project is listed.

In addition, the verification body must submit information for a Conflict of Interest (COI) self-evaluation to the applicable Offset Project Registry with which the project is listed.  The Offset Project Registry must review and approve the conflict-of-interest self-evaluation.

The verification body must submit an Offset Verification Statement to the applicable Offset Project Registry with which the project is listed.

Current versions of all required verification forms are available from CA ARB’s Compliance Offset Program Forms webpage.

California Offset
Program Resources

California Offset Program Resources ARB has developed general guidance on the compliance offset program. ARB’s main webpage for the Compliance Offset Program contains program-related information and responses to frequently asked questions (FAQs).

Offset Project Listing Requirements For Native American Tribes

Tribes, because of their unique status as sovereign nations, must include a limited waiver of sovereign immunity that is legally binding under the Tribe’s laws as part of the offset project listing requirements to participate in the Compliance Offset Program. Tribes must meet the requirements of sections 95975(c)(1) through (5), and the requirements of section 95975(l) of the Cap-and-Trade Regulation before any offset project located on the categories of land specified in section 95973(d) of the Cap-and-Trade Regulation can be listed under ARB’s Compliance Offset Program. For more information, please see Offset Project Listing Requirements for Native American Tribes web page.

How To Register California Offset Projects On ACR

Read our Orientation Guide to learn more about the process of listing California Compliance Offset Projects with ACR and being issued Registry Offset Credits and ARB Offset Credits for the California Cap-and-Trade Program.