This page last reviewed March 14, 2013

Potential New Compliance Offset Protocol Rice Cultivation Projects


The potential new Compliance Offset Protocol Rice Cultivation Projects will provide methods for quantifying reductions in methane emissions from flooded rice fields.  Methane emissions are a result of anaerobic decomposition caused by the flooding of fields containing organic matter.  The organic matter originates from soil amendments, plant residues and root exudates.  Methane production is affected by the duration of flooding, the rice variety and the availability of crop residues and organic matter.

All reductions must be fully documented, and accurately quantified.  ARB is considering using the DeNitrification-DeComposition (DNDC) biogeochemical process model to quantify changes in N2O and CH4 emissions due to the eligible practices.  Projects would be limited to the major rice growing regions in California and the Mid-South (Arkansas, Missouri, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas) for which the DNDC model has been calibrated with empirical data.  ARB is considering three eligible practices for California: 1) replacing wet seeding with dry seeding, 2) early drainage at the end of growing season, and 3) rice straw removal after harvest; and four eligible practices for the Mid-South: 1) early drainage at the end of growing season, 2) rice straw removal after harvest, 3) intermittent flooding, and 4) staggered winter flooding.

The Offset Project Operator or Authorized Project Designee would be required to use this protocol to quantify and report greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions.  The protocol would provide eligibility rules, methods to quantify GHG emission reductions, offset project monitoring instructions, and procedures for preparing Offset Project Data Reports.  All offset projects would be required to submit to independent verification by ARB-accredited verification bodies.  Regulatory requirements for verification of Offset Project Data reports will be provided in the Cap-and-Trade Regulation

This protocol will be designed to ensure the complete, consistent, transparent, accurate, and conservative quantification of GHG emission reductions associated with a Rice Cultivation project.  The protocol will be comprised of both quantification methodologies and regulatory program requirements to develop an Rice Cultivation project for generating ARB offset credits.

ARB conducted a workshop on March 28, 2013 discussing protocol requirements, eligibility, and timeframe.  Workshop materials can be found at:

Reference Documents:

            American Carbon Registry Rice Protocol 

            Climate Action Reserve Rice Cultivation Protocol Version 1.0 (December 14, 2011)

            Climate Action Reserve Rice Cultivation Protocol Version 1.1 (June 3, 2013)

            DNDC model

March 17, 2014 Workshop on the Proposed Rice Cultivation Offset Protocol and Updates to Existing Offset Protocol:

Technical Working Group Materials:

4th Technical Working Group Meeting - December 20, 2013

3rd Technical Working Group Meeting - October 1, 2013

2nd Technical Working Group Meeting - July 19, 2013

1st Technical Working Group Meeting - May 10, 2013  

August 19, 2013 Workshop Materials:

We have been working diligently with stakeholders and the public to develop an ARB Compliance Offset Protocol to reduce methane emissions from rice cultivation.  That process has raised some questions which require more time to address.  Work is now underway to resolve these issues, and we expect to bring a Rice Cultivation Project Protocol before the Board by spring 2014.

For questions or comments regarding the Potential Rice Cultivation Protocol, 

please contact Yachun Chow at (916) 322-7450 or via email at: