The California Climate Action Registry rolled out a new greenhouse gas emission reduction certification program. It aims to support developing offset projects carried out within U.S. borders. \u201cWe\u2019re now turning our expertise to carbon reduction projects, or offsets,\u201d said Gary Gero, registry president, announcing the new program May 15. Utilities in the state are banking on the ability to offset some of their carbon emissions to meet an expected greenhouse gas emissions cap under state law. Under the registry\u2019s certification program, it issues emission reduction credits for certified projects that are audited annually to verify that the greenhouse gases actually were eliminated, Gero explained. \u201cThis is how you can assure that these reductions are real,\u201d he said. Initially, the program aims at certifying emissions reductions from five types of projects: -Livestock biodigesters; -Landfill methane capture; -Avoided deforestation; -Reforestation; and -Forest conservation management. Gero said certification of credits for avoided deforestation would be offered only when the removal of trees was imminent, such as in rezoning land for development. Each ton reduced through an offset project receives a \u201cserial number\u201d to prevent it from being \u201cdouble sold.\u201d \u201cWe believe this effort creates a model for the carbon market today and raises expectations,\u201d said Linda Adams, California Environmental Protection Agency secretary. Pacific Gas & Electric, for example, recently created an offset program that allows its ratepayers to pay a fee to help protect two forests threatened by development. The claimed offsets from the forests in Mendocino and Santa Cruz counties are certified by the registry. It should provide the carbon market with \u201cincreased certainty,\u201d commented Ken Newcombe, Goldman Sachs carbon desk managing director. The California Climate Action Registry was set up by the state to develop standardized methods that companies can use to measure their greenhouse gases and track reductions in expectation of a cap-and-trade market. The registry said it plans to expand the types of offset projects that can qualify for certification as it develops the needed accounting methods.