Cars need cool glass to combat global warming, state air board says

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California’s air regulators will require passenger vehicles to have specially coated windshields that reflect sunlight and reduce the need for air conditioning.

KPCC’s Molly Peterson reports the rule starts taking effect in 3 years.

Carmakers asked the state Air Resources Board for longer lead time before the regulation kicks in. They also asked for exemptions for fuel efficient cars. But the rule passed as proposed. Three-quarters of cars in the 2012 model year must have windshields that block 50 percent of the sun’s heat; that glass should reduce a car’s temperature by more than a dozen degrees.

New windshields could be coated with chemicals, or have small flecks of metal embedded in the glass to reflect sunrays. Seven years from now, the state wants all windshields to reflect the sun’s heat. The idea is that people will use air conditioning less.

California’s pursued a policy of nibbling away at every regulatory angle in order to meet legal goals. Under a landmark law, the state’s supposed to cut greenhouse gases within 11 years to the levels they were at 19 years ago, with an aim toward reducing global warming.