California regulators will trial lighter-touch auditing methods for rice farming offset projects in a move that could eventually make it easier for such initiatives to earn carbon credits.
Under California’s pilot programme, the state government will pay auditors to conduct alternative verifications during the first two reporting periods of participating rice farming offset projects, as well as the regulatory verification, ARB said in an emailed notice.
The trial aims to “compare the rigor” of alternatives to determine whether “less comprehensive verification methods may be incorporated into a future version of the Compliance Offset Protocol Rice Cultivation Projects”.
The regulatory verification and alternative verification will be conducted by different verification bodies, ARB said, adding that the alternative method will be conducted solely for evaluation purposes and cannot be used for the issuance of ARB offset credits under the pilot programme.
ARB will also itself audit the all of the verifications under the initiative.
ARB are inviting developers interested in participating in the pilot to apply with details of their project no later than Mar. 31.
Last June, the ARB approved a rice growing offset protocol, allowing projects to be designed that could eventually earn carbon credits to be used in the state’s cap-and-trade scheme.
One project this month applied for 5,300 early action offsets, ARB data showed.
Experts say this protocol could pave the way for a wave of other farming initiatives to become eligible to generate offsets for use in California’s ETS.
By Ben Garside – firstname.lastname@example.org