On December 5, 2003, the Department of Energy proposed revisions to the DOE 1605(b) registry, which is a voluntary, national greenhouse gas (GHG) i registry. The registry was originally established through Section 1605(b) of the Energy Policy Act of 1992, which directed the DOE to develop a voluntary GHG reporting program. The program guidelines were initially issued in 1994 and were structured to encourage broad, voluntary participation among industry.
In February 2002, President Bush announced that the United States would pursue voluntary reductions in GHG in order to meet an 18 percent reduction in GHG intensity from 2002 to 2012. President Bush also recommended that the registry be reformed to enhance registry participation; facilitate tracking progress toward the reduction goal; improve the transparency, completeness, and reliability of the registry; and potentially provide emissions credits that would be transferable in GHG emission trading markets.
There were three main criticisms of the registry prior to the revisions -completeness, verifiability, and the creation of an emissions trading system. The original registry rules allowed organizations to report their project or facility reductions without also requiring these entities to report their entity-wide GHG emissions and entity-wide reductions. Furthermore, the registry did not require a third-party certification of the reports that were submitted to the 1605(b) registry, as required for other voluntary registries, such as the California Climate Action Registry. Finally, there was some concern over awarding credits for emissions reductions that would be transferable in GHG emission trading markets, in the absence of a mandatory regime. The aim of the revised guidelines was to address some of these concerns and provide a mechanism for organizations to demonstrate that they are taking voluntary action to inventory and reduce their GHG emissions.