A Sacramento nonprofit will play a key role in California's new "cap and trade" greenhouse gas market, designed to reduce carbon emissions.
The American Carbon Registry was approved as one of two "offset project registries" - organizations that will screen projects aimed at reducing carbon in the atmosphere. The other registry is Climate Action Reserve of Los Angeles.
The announcement was made today by the California Air Resources Board, the state agency running the new cap and trade market.
Most of the state's big industrial polluters must participate in the market. If their carbon emissions exceed a certain level, they have to scale back their pollution or buy extra emissions allowances, either from the state or on the open market.
They also have another option: buying offsets. Offsets are investments in environmental projects that remove carbon from the atmosphere - such as sealing off methane or restoring forests. The polluters can use offset investments to comply with up to 8 percent of their obligations under the cap and trade program.
The two registries have the task of vetting projects to make sure they're legitimate, said Air Resources Board spokesman Dave Clegern. The state agency has hired its own team of independent contractors to verify the authenticity of offset projects.
"Our focus is on sound science, and we share (the state's) commitment to ensuring the integrity of offsets," said John Kadyszewski, director of American Carbon Registry, in a press release.
The registry is a part of Winrock International, a nonprofit organization affiliated with the Rockefeller family.