As Greg notes below, Energy Secretary Steven Chu appeared at noted climatologist Prince Charles’ symposium in London today, and expressed the Obama administration’s support for painting roofs white and cars black in order to reflect energy and fight global warming.
“We have to go to a different new revolution that can severely decrease the amount of carbon emissions in the generation of energy,” Chu said in endorsing the “Cool Colors Standard” (no, we’re not making this up). A white roof standard would have the equivalent effect of taking every car in the world off the road for 11 years. Black car paint saves 11.2 gallon mgs of fuel per car.
Mandating roofs be painted white? Mandating black cars?
This is the kind of dictatorial looniness that might awaken the general public to the fact that greens are stark-raving mad. In fact, the public is already awake in California.
As Patrick Bedard reports in the July issue of Car & Driver, California
was going to institute a so-called “Cool Cars Standard” as part of its effort to cut greenhouse gases by 30 percent by 2016. Black looked doomed. The (standard) wasn’t as simple as banning black cars, but it would have had the same effect. The proposed rule would have kicked in for the 2012, at which time a third of the colors would have had to reflect 20 percent of “impinging solar energy.”
By 2016 the standard would have become mandatory, with the good chance that the black-car rule would apply to the entire country (given California’s influence on car emissions regulations — see Washington’s new, California-inspired mpg regs). In theory, the Cool Cars Standard would have eliminated 224 pounds of CO2 emissions per car a year by cutting A/C use by 30 percent.
But California regulators got cold feet. Green activists were worried about consumer backlash (you can buy any car you want as long as it’s black).
But that hasn’t been the end of it. Greens decided to get their energy savings by letting sleeping car buyers lie and regulating windshield manufacturers instead.
By 2012, all vehicles “must have windshields that reflect at least 30 percent (jumping to 45 percent in 2014) of solar energy, side glass and backlights that exclude at least 42 percent, and sunroofs that bar at least 65 percent,” reports Bedard (we’re still not making this up).
Trouble is, the best that even tinted glass does these days is reflect back 6 percent of solar energy. Today, only an advanced formulation called Sungate EP meets this standard, and it’s so expensive no carmaker uses it.
So taking a page from Chairman Chu’s revolutionary handbook, here’s an idea: Mandate that all windshields be painted white.