MRV & Enforcement
Credible information on emissions is the fundamental underlying basis for an emissions trading scheme. It is therefore important that emissions are accurately and consistently monitored (M), reported to regulators (R), and verified (V). Establishing a legal MRV framework to track compliance guarantees that a “ton is always a ton.” This, together with enforcement provisions including sanctions for non-compliance, ensures that the system is trustworthy, justifies allowance prices and helps its environmental effectiveness.
Emissions can be measured by direct emissions monitoring, where real time emissions are measured by a device (such as a Continuous Emissions Monitor or CEM System). Alternatively, emissions levels can be calculated using emission factors of fuels or of chemical processes. In either case, emissions then need to be reported to the relevant authority on a regular basis. It is important to have a robust quality assurance and quality control system in place which conforms to established standards. The system can then be audited or verified either by government inspectors or third party experts to ensure a sound and effective trading scheme. In addition, some schemes appoint accreditation entities which certify a private organization´s competence in verifying compliance of covered emission sources.
By creating incentives for compliance, the design of an ETS can help minimize the need for penalties. Enforcement provisions that identify consequences for the event that entities are non-compliant can help the system function. These may include monetary sanctions, criminal penalties, or tightened emission caps for the following monitoring period.