Emission targets for industrialized country Parties to the Kyoto Protocol are expressed as levels of
allowed emissions, or “assigned amounts”, over the 2008-2012 commitment period. Such
assigned amounts are denominated in tonnes (of CO2 equivalent emissions) known informally as
The ability of Parties to add to their holdings of Kyoto units (e.g. through credits for CDM or
LULUCF activities) or move units from one country to another (e.g. through emissions trading or JI
projects) requires registry systems that can track the location of Kyoto units at all times.
Two types of registry are being implemented:
- Governments of the 38 Annex B Parties are implementing national registries,
containing accounts within which units are held in the name of the government or in the name of legal
entities authorized by the government to hold and trade units.
- The UNFCCC secretariat, under the authority of the CDM Executive Board, has implemented the
CDM registry for issuing CDM credits
and distributing them to national registries. Accounts in the CDM registry are held only by CDM
project participants, as the registry does not accept emissions trading between accounts.
In addition to recording the holdings of Kyoto units, these registries “settle” emissions
trades by delivering units from the accounts of sellers to those of buyers, thus forming the backbone
infrastructure for the carbon market.
Each registry will operate through a link established with the International transaction log put in
place and administered by the UNFCCC secretariat. The ITL verifies registry transactions, in real
time, to ensure they are consistent with rules agreed under the Kyoto Protocol. The ITL requires
registries to terminate transactions they propose that are found to infringe upon the Kyoto rules.
In verifying registry transactions, the ITL provides an independent check that unit holdings are
being recorded accurately in registries. After the Kyoto commitment period is finished, the end
status of the unit holdings for each Annex B Party will be compared with the Party’s emissions
over the commitment period in order to assess whether it has complied with its emission target under
the Kyoto Protocol.