CPUC Policy Boosts Climate Action Registry

By Published On: February 24, 2006

The California Climate Action Registry will play a growing role now that the California Public Utilities Commission has decided to control greenhouse gas emissions from the state’s power industry. However, the non-profit may be melded into state government as the state program is implemented. “Potentially it means a big increase in our membership,” said Joel Levin, registry vice president. Already, Reliant Energy has joined the registry and additional municipal utilities are expected to announce their membership in the coming weeks. However, the governor’s state climate action team is considering whether the registry should become an official part of the state government, acknowledged Levin. “It’s their perception we’re government, we’re non-government. Regulation should be done by government,” Levin said. He added that a number of bills are expected to be introduced in the Legislature concerning global warming, which could become vehicles for changing the registry’s status. The Legislature created the registry in 2001 to establish an organization that could develop standardized accounting methods for greenhouse gas emissions. By using these standards and registering their emissions with the organization, the companies will be able to take credit for any emissions reductions required by future regulations. To date, the registry has developed standardized protocols for the power, forestry, and cement industries to track greenhouse gas emissions. It is working on protocols for other industries. The state’s three investor owned utilities already belong to the registry, as do many municipal utilities and a growing list of independent generators. Even out-of-state companies have joined the registry. Levin said the registry is coordinating its standards closely with a similar registry in the Northeast and has been working with groups that want to set up registries in the Midwest and West. He said that by the end of the year, the groups may announce a new system under which companies that operate across state lines could file one single standardized emission report that would be accepted in all of these areas for regulatory purposes.

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