The monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) of greenhouse-gas emissions is the cornerstone of carbon pricing and management mechanisms. Here we consider peer-reviewed articles and 'grey literature' related to existing MRV requirements and their costs. A substantial part of the literature is the regulatory texts of the 15 most important carbon pricing and management mechanisms currently implemented. Based on a comparison of key criteria such as the scope, cost, uncertainty and flexibility of procedures, we conclude that conventional wisdom on MRV is not often promoted in existing carbon pricing mechanisms. Quantification of emissions uncertainty and incentives to reduce this uncertainty are usually only partially applied, if at all. Further, the time and resources spent on small sources of emissions would be expected to be limited. Although provisions aiming at an effort proportionate to the amount of emissions at stake — 'materiality' — are widespread, they are largely outweighed by economies of scale: in all schemes, MRV costs per tonne are primarily driven by the size of the source.