Registries and Enforcement Systems

Table 5 lists registry information for each of the evaluated programs.

Enforcement systems ensure that contractual standards clearly identify ownership of the emission reductions and also define who bears the risk in case of project failure. Carbon offset registries track offset projects and issue offset credits for each unit of emission reduction or removal that is verified and certified. Registries are vital in creating a credible, fungible offset commodity. Registries clarify the ownership of offsets. A serial number is assigned to each verified offset. When an offset is sold, the serial number and “credit” for the reduction is transferred from the account of the seller to an account for the buyer. If the buyer “uses” the credit by claiming it as an offset against their own emissions, the registry retires the serial number so that the credit cannot be resold. In this manner, registries reduce the risk of double counting (that is, to have multiple stakeholders take credit for the same offset.) Registration and Enforcement Systems must include:

  • A registry with publicly available information to uniquely identify offset projects.
  • Serial numbers for each offset credit generated by each project.
  • A system to transparently track ownership of offsets which makes it possible to track each offset to the project from which it originated.
  • A system to easily check on the status of an offset (i.e., whether an offset has been retired).
  • Contractual or legal standards that clearly identify the original “owner” of emission reductions.
  • Contractual or legal standards that spell out who bears the risk in case of project failure or partial project failure (e.g. who is responsible for replacing the offsets that should have been produced by the failed project).

Obtaining offsets directly through a registry simplifies the delivery process significantly, as buyers simply establish an account into which the registry transfers the purchased offsets. In so doing, the buyer is assured of both the quality of the purchased offsets (as only offsets that meet the registry’s standards are transacted) and their ownership of the offsets, since they are deposited directly into the purchaser’s account.

Under CDM, the certification process is the phase of a CDM or JI project during which permits are issued on the basis of calculated emissions reductions and verification (For information on the project cycle, go here). In the VER market, credits are not certified but solely verified -- thus the difference between CERs (Certified ERs) and VERs (Verified ERs.) The CDM registry is used to issue CERs from registered CDM project activities into the Pending Account. Up to date information on issues CERs can be found here.

The UNEP RISO Center's CDM/JI Pipeline Analysis and Database offers further information about CDM and JI projects and statistsics.

Other Mandatory Program Registries:

Alberta Emissions Offset Registry
NSW GGAS Registry

RGGI CO2 Allowance Tracking System (RGGI COATS)

Voluntary Market Registries

There are several registries in the voluntary market. They have been developed by governments, non-profits, and the private sector. Some voluntary standard registries are still in the planning stage and not yet operational. The following voluntary registries are currently operating:

- American Carbon Registry (ACR)

- APX Inc. administers the following offset registries:

- Caisse des Depots (Verified Carbon Standard)

- Markit administers the following offset registries:

For information additional about registries for voluntary programs and standards, please go to the appropriate section of each program description page. Table 5 lists registry information for each of the evaluated programs.

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