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Painting The World's Roofs White Could Slow Climate Change

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the why-do-you-think-they-paint-ice-white? dept.

Earth 712

Hugh Pickens writes "Dr. Steven Chu, the Nobel prize-winning physicist appointed by President Obama as Energy Secretary, wants to paint the world white. Chu said at the opening of the St James's Palace Nobel Laureate Symposium that by lightening paved surfaces and roofs to the color of cement, it would be possible to cut carbon emissions by as much as taking all the world's cars off the roads for 11 years. Pale surfaces reflect up to 80 percent of the sunlight that falls on them, compared with about 20 percent for dark ones, which is why roofs and walls in hot countries are often whitewashed." (Continues, below.)"An increase in pale surfaces would help to contain climate change both by reflecting more solar radiation into space and by reducing the amount of energy needed to keep buildings cool by air-conditioning. Since 2005 California has required all flat roofs on commercial buildings to be white and Georgia and Florida give incentives to owners who install white or light-colored roofs. Put another way, boosting how much urban rooftops reflect would be a one-time carbon-offset equivalent to preventing 44 billion tons of CO2 from entering the atmosphere. 'For the first time, we're equating the value of reflective roof surfaces and CO2 reduction,' says Dr. Hashem Akbari. 'This does not make the problem of global warming go away. But we can buy ourselves some time.'"

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712 comments

Pavement (4, Interesting)

jasonhamilton (673330) | more than 4 years ago | (#28114955)

Makes me wonder why roofs and not pavement. There's a lot of roads and parking lots around the world. Seems like there's more surface area of those than roofs.

Re:Pavement (5, Informative)

Chabo (880571) | more than 4 years ago | (#28115041)

From TFS:

that by lightening paved surfaces and roofs to the color of cement

Personally, I wouldn't want to drive on a surface that bright; I'd be squinting even with my sunglasses on!

Also, as a current resident of California, I can see the value in having a light-colored car or house, but as a former resident of New Hampshire, I can tell you that having a black car and black roof on a cold but sunny winter's day is very helpful! Snow slides off my car roof with ease, and it means I didn't have to turn the heat up quite so much!

Re:Pavement (4, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 4 years ago | (#28115097)

Personally, I wouldn't want to drive on a surface that bright; I'd be squinting even with my sunglasses on!

If you've driven on an interstate in the mid-west, chances are you've driven on cement. It really isn't any worse than asphalt.

Re:Pavement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28115199)

It's far more expensive, though, in the short-term.

Re:Pavement (2, Interesting)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 4 years ago | (#28115433)

Unless of course you are stuck in traffic for 4 hours on your commute home from work because of a 5 year project to redo some road which was built from cement, as they have to tear it all up at about 1 mile a week, instead of just using asphalt which you can just throw another layer onto and pave in a day.

Re:Pavement (5, Insightful)

Avin22 (1438931) | more than 4 years ago | (#28115241)

Although this would reduce the amount of energy used for cooling, heating costs would go up. For most people, it takes far more energy to heat a house than cool it. It takes 1200 KWh to cool a house in a temperate climate for a year, but it takes 12000 KWh to heat one . It is more useful to look for ways to heat a house more efficiently than cool it.

Re:Pavement (4, Insightful)

MarcoAtWork (28889) | more than 4 years ago | (#28115411)

uhh, in the winter your roof is covered by snow anyways, so the color your roof is not going to make any difference. And for states/countries where it doesn't snow in the winter, you probably also don't need 12000KWh to heat them up.

Re:Pavement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28115053)

I believe "paved surfaces" covers pavement.

Re:Pavement (1)

E-Rock (84950) | more than 4 years ago | (#28115063)

You can probably white wash a roof without impacting it's function and have it stay white. If you've seen concrete roads that haven't been blacktopped, they soon start to turn black on their own.

Re:Pavement (1)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 4 years ago | (#28115167)

Yeah, that's what I was thinking. Painting roads and pavements white might be a nice idea, but it'll last all of two seconds before cars and feet render 'em gray again.

Re:Pavement (3, Informative)

Altus (1034) | more than 4 years ago | (#28115209)

not only that, the pain they use on roads is terrible for traction. Even just stop lines can be brutal for motorcycles.

You would have to add the pigment to the actual road material for it to be at all practical.

Re:Pavement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28115101)

You have to get all the way down to the second sentence in the summary before you run across that idea...

Re:Pavement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28115143)

Roads in FL are almost white from the sun blasts. We have to have black lines painted on the surface so we can see the white lines.

Re:Pavement (5, Insightful)

Dutchy Wutchy (547108) | more than 4 years ago | (#28115159)

If the roads are painted white with the standard white road paint, the coefficient of friction will be reduced (much more so when wet).

Also, where is all this paint coming from? What are the environmental and economic impacts of making all of this paint?

Re:Pavement (2, Insightful)

WinPimp2K (301497) | more than 4 years ago | (#28115351)

The idea has some merit, but Chu is yapping his face off about Global Warming in order to make sure his buddies get more dumptruckfulls of money to further "study" and "quantify" exactly how much this might help.

But yes, it does make some sense - if you want lower energy bills during the summer don't have a highly light absorptive roof heating up your building. This means your energy bill will be lower - because - you will use less energy (duh). But using less energy means (probably) a reduced carbon footprint - how much depends on how much of your electricity comes from burning carbon. But, I consider reducing energy bills a better reason for doing this than feeding more grant money to a bunch of paper-pushing prostitutes who only say what they are paid to say by the parasites who are busy looting the world economy for their own benefit.

Now as to why roofs and not pavement - who pays? Yes there is a lot more pavement, but recall that rather heavy machines move over it. Paint jobs won't last long at all. Heck, here in Texas, they build roads with light colored concrete, and then after a few years cover em up with nice black asphalt. Resurfacing with asphalt is a whole lot cheaper than trying to maintain concrete directly.

Re:Pavement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28115393)

Great - The next Ice age is coming and this guy wants to speed that process up??

Rayban & Pilots (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28114957)

I can imagine plane pilots with Rayban's... and.. first post! :P

Paint It White (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28114981)

Everybody grab a spray can, time to save the world!

No way will this happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28114991)

Black is beautiful

You always knew it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28114997)

White is right!

Run away Whitehouse (0)

aereinha (1462049) | more than 4 years ago | (#28114999)

There is such a thing as reflecting too much light. It's called runaway icehouse or in this case whitehouse. Basically making everything white will reflect too much radiation and making the world much cooler than they think it will.

Re:Run away Whitehouse (2, Funny)

Altus (1034) | more than 4 years ago | (#28115355)

if only we could balance that out by somehow making some of those things dark. Its a shame that once you paint something white you can never paint it black again.

i read it on the internets (0, Flamebait)

naeone (1430095) | more than 4 years ago | (#28115005)

shock horror, doing the infeasible will save the planet

Re:i read it on the internets (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28115175)

since it's on the internet, it *must* be true!

Paint the bears, too (5, Funny)

snsh (968808) | more than 4 years ago | (#28115009)

Let's also paint all the Grizzly bears white. That will address the problem of disappearing polar bears.

Re:Paint the bears, too (1)

quickpick (1021471) | more than 4 years ago | (#28115457)

Let's also paint all the Grizzly bears white. That will address the problem of disappearing polar bears.

I think they tried that on Jackass once...it didn't bode well for Steve-o

That's no good... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28115015)

I've patented the idea. My 'RoofSheet' technology for drying your bedding on your tiles is about o be put into production....

Moon (3, Funny)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 4 years ago | (#28115019)

Everyone should hang their bare white bottoms out the window, in order to reverse the global warming trend.

and make all (5, Interesting)

markringen (1501853) | more than 4 years ago | (#28115037)

and make all the birds blind. we had a man in the neighborhood who had a white roof and it was filled with dead birds. birds fly towards white objects for some reason as if it's the sky, and splatter to death.

Time out (3, Interesting)

XanC (644172) | more than 4 years ago | (#28115047)

Wasn't there a study a year or two ago, which was loudly trumpeted by NPR, CNN, MSNBC, etc, that concluded that manmade global warming (or "climate change") was already a sure thing, and it was way past too late for us to do anything about it now.

So, uh... What happened to that? Was that fake, or is this guy ignorant? Or do climate-change types believe stuff whenever it's convenient for them?

Re:Time out (4, Insightful)

Tenek (738297) | more than 4 years ago | (#28115149)

Maybe there's some legitimate debate over how reversible it is, independently of whether or not it's happening.

Re:Time out (4, Insightful)

MrMista_B (891430) | more than 4 years ago | (#28115153)

No, that was accurate - the climate is changing all the time, and humans have caused various changes to accelerate in ways that are detrimental to the survival of our species (growth of deserts, loss of farmland, etc.)

What this is proposing, is a way to mitigate some of the detrimental changes.

That aside, why the snark? I understand that people of course have personal investment in their enviroment (it's where we live, after all), but for someone proposing a simple change like this that could have multiple beneficial results for our species, I'm not sure why you feel so threatened.

Re:Time out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28115417)

Some people feel the need to be antienvironmentalists. It's not enough to just do whatever they want, consequences be damned. No, these people go out and burn tires every time some company discovers that they can save money by saving electricity or boost their profit by recycling their scrap metal. It really gets their goat that people aren't doing everything in their power to ruin the environment.

Someone painting their roofs white to save on cooling costs? These folks will run the heater and the AC at the same time, just to show them.

Re:Time out (1)

wjousts (1529427) | more than 4 years ago | (#28115163)

There's a difference in the severity. Even if we can't stop it, we can maybe make it less bad. But, if you want to throw the towel in, then go right ahead.

Re:Time out (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 4 years ago | (#28115249)

I'm curious -- how did you get that global warming is reversible out of: "'This does not make the problem of global warming go away. But we can buy ourselves some time.'"

Re:Time out (2, Insightful)

Hubbell (850646) | more than 4 years ago | (#28115265)

Well, when hundreds of scientists who had their studies used by the IPCC in fraudulent ways of presenting the data to support global warming came out and many thousands more came out showing hard facts that man has not had as big of an effect on the climate as the alarmists want you to believe, they kinda dropped it. Oh, and the whole thing with the world going through a cooling period now probably has something to do with it.

Re:Time out (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28115273)

So, uh... What happened to that? Was that fake, or is this guy ignorant? Or do climate-change types believe stuff whenever it's convenient for them?

Yes.

Re:Time out (1)

jfoucar (1537317) | more than 4 years ago | (#28115295)

The degree to which the climate will change is not certain. Maybe it is too late to avoid significant climate change, but it probably isn't to late to take actions to mitigate the severity of the change.

Re:Time out (4, Insightful)

stpere (450329) | more than 4 years ago | (#28115329)

Well, even if we can't reverse the process, there are other good reasons to lower our energy consumption.

Energy isn't free; by polluting less, you often spend less in the long run... It's not only good for the planet, it's good for the economy in general.

Both shouldn't be seen as incompatible things.

Re:Time out (2, Insightful)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 4 years ago | (#28115365)

Don't you know? The wind blows one way, than the other. We're doomed, then not doomed. Followed by we're so guilty we're already screwed that we should just wipe out humanity for the next apex species.

Yeah, seriously this stuff gets old pretty quick. Half the reason why you can't take stalk in most of it.

Re:Time out (-1)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 4 years ago | (#28115401)

It's a proven fact that man has caused a warming of the planet, and it's generally accepted that this warming will continue until 2100. However, that's no reason to continue the behaviors that caused the warming. Any steps we can take will slow the warming and contribute to an eventual slow reversal.

The point of that study you mentioned is that the climate fight is a trans-generational battle, and gestures that look like a drop in the sand to us are necessary to eventually reverse the tide.

Unfortunately... (3, Insightful)

scsirob (246572) | more than 4 years ago | (#28115049)

Unfortunately, producing the massive amounts of white paint needed to paint all these surfaces and maintain them produces about as much CO2 as was saved by starting this excellent project.

Why use paint? (1)

wonderboss (952111) | more than 4 years ago | (#28115337)

Why use paint? If you view the video of Dr. Chu's speech in the actual article, he does not say to paint anything. Simply using white or light colored roofing materials on new or replacement roofs does the trick.

Re:Unfortunately... (2, Informative)

hankwang (413283) | more than 4 years ago | (#28115391)

Unfortunately, producing the massive amounts of white paint needed to paint all these surfaces and maintain them produces about as much CO2 as was saved by starting this excellent project.

You need about 100 g of paint to cover a square meter. Suppose that the paint costs 1 kg worth of fuel to manufacture. The amount of sunlight it reflects over 10 years in a sunny climate is on the order of 50 gigajoules, or about 1000 kg of fuel to burn. Even if only 10% of the heat has to be cooled away by airconditioning, it is a good deal: invest 1 kg of fuel; save 100 kg in fuel for the airconditioning. (I assume that the inefficiency of a power plant compensates the efficiency of a heat pump)

I'm not sure how making the pavement lighter will reduce CO2 emissions. It would reduce the greenhouse effect a bit due to less infared radiation being trapped - increasing the world's albedo by 1% or so would have a quite significant impact on the climate, but it is difficult to translate than into an absolute amount of CO2 emission.

Mirrors (2, Interesting)

13bPower (869223) | more than 4 years ago | (#28115057)

If white roofs are good, maybe we can put down aluminum foil and that will be even better.

Re:Mirrors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28115347)

Unfortunately we are low on tin foil and will require your hate to proceed. Please deposit it at your local tinfoil hat collection agency.

Re:Mirrors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28115455)

If white roofs are good, maybe we can put down aluminum foil and that will be even better.

The ultimate tin-foil hat.

Snow blindness anyone? (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 4 years ago | (#28115073)

I know that when it snows, my eyes are really messed with by all the white reflecting everywhere. Having roofs on buildings all white might cause similar problems.

That said, I have noticed UPS trucks have long since been doing this with good results. Perhaps snow blindness might not be an issue to anyone but pilots and perhaps not even to them. I know I would like to see my electric bill reduced and I'll bet that is a good way to accomplish it. I wonder if those home-owners associations would do anything to interfere with someone making their roofs white?

Re:Snow blindness anyone? (1)

Jeng (926980) | more than 4 years ago | (#28115181)

UPS Trucks have translucent roofs so they don't need a light in the back. This is done on many trailers also.

Not Likely to stay white (1)

supercell (1148577) | more than 4 years ago | (#28115079)

It some cases this may make sense, but on large scale I see problems with it. I roof painted white, or with white shingles would, fairly quickly lose its high reflection [Albedo] as dirt/grim turns it from white to brown/black in just a couple of years. In addition, the solar insolation in areas north 40 degrees north, would have a much less of an affect.

Even better.. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28115089)

Let's use solar shingles.

White asphalt? (3, Interesting)

idontgno (624372) | more than 4 years ago | (#28115093)

Now, you smile, but he's done a calculation, and if you take all the buildings and make their roofs white and if you make the pavement more of a concrete type of colour rather than a black type of colour, and you do this uniformly . . . it's the equivalent of reducing the carbon emissions due to all the cars on the road for 11 years.

Now all we need is white tar...

Re:White asphalt? (4, Insightful)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 4 years ago | (#28115205)

There might be some safety issues with making road surfaces reflect more light. . .things that come to mind:

* Increased road glare on sunny days - good sun glasses could largely deal with this, but if you don't happen to have a pair of sunglasses, you might be having a pretty hard time seeing on very bright days.

* Night driving: harder to see the painted lines and reflectors embedded in the concrete (I'm not sure if this would really be much of a problem or not, but maybe could be)

* Winter driving - In the winter, I'm sure that black pavement absorbing sunlight has some beneficial effect in the form of melting ice off the road sooner than light-colored pavement would. Lighter colored road surfaces might lead to ice lasting longer, or requiring more salt to be put on the roads by road crews.

Re:White asphalt? (1)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 4 years ago | (#28115453)

Oh, one more very important note on winter driving - dark pavement means it's easier to find the road when the rest of your field of vision is all white from snow on the ground and in the air. White roads + white snow = cars and trucks off the road.

Re:White asphalt? (2, Informative)

Jeng (926980) | more than 4 years ago | (#28115279)

Concrete is lightly colored, abit off white.

Also, concrete paving lasts longer and needs less maintenance. The reason asphalt is used so much is its cheaper in the short term.

Tire wear on the concrete will turn it blackish, so I guess now all we need is white rubber?

Other Pollution (2, Interesting)

ironicsky (569792) | more than 4 years ago | (#28115095)

I wonder if he calculated the amount of green house gas and other pollution would be created by manufacturing all this new paint. If they were you make roofing tiles and shingles white, what would the pollution cost from people throwing out their old roofs to bring in new white ones? Same with roads. My favorite roof solution, and something I plan on working on this summer or next summer is to turn my garage roof in to a natural garden by placing a protective tar paper over the shingles, a couple of inches of dirt and then grass or moss seeds. I'll let nature reclaim my man-made structure. Inch for inch, it would be just like grass growing on the ground, except not.

Re:Other Pollution (1)

d3matt (864260) | more than 4 years ago | (#28115231)

be careful that you don't overstress your roof supports... If you're in an area that gets 2-3 feet of snow in the winter you should be ok, but if you're in the south you might have to add more load bearing beams to keep the roof from caving in.

Re:Other Pollution (1)

ironicsky (569792) | more than 4 years ago | (#28115445)

I am one of those unlucky northern winter guys, a typical winter we get about 4ft of snow. Its kind of nice, our roof supports are usually 2x6's or larger

Re:Other Pollution (1)

Jeng (926980) | more than 4 years ago | (#28115447)

Titanium dioxide which is the most common pigment for white paint has some interesting anti-pollution features.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Titanium_dioxide [wikipedia.org]

As for your proposed green roof, research the hell out of it or find a reputable roofing company to do the work and have them guarantee it. You destroy your roof, you destroy your home.

Double benefit (2, Informative)

EvilToiletPaper (1226390) | more than 4 years ago | (#28115133)

Whitewash also absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere and turns into Calcium carbonate to get that milky white look, so in addition to reflecting sunlight, we also remove some CO2 from the air. On the downside, whitewashed walls look butt ugly.

Anyone know what the environment/economic cost of making all that whitewash is?

Re:Double benefit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28115227)

... burning the CO2 out of the calcium carbonate, plus generating the heat to do it. ... oops

Re:Double benefit (1)

geekmux (1040042) | more than 4 years ago | (#28115353)

Whitewash also absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere and turns into Calcium carbonate to get that milky white look, so in addition to reflecting sunlight, we also remove some CO2 from the air. On the downside, whitewashed walls look butt ugly...

Ah, don't worry, maybe whitewash will become the new black, and will be the next not-as-hottest thing in building "fashion"...

Nice to have a Sec of Energy actually Read the Lit (4, Interesting)

sampson7 (536545) | more than 4 years ago | (#28115137)

There are very free lunches in the world of energy production and consumption. Lightening the color of pavement and roofing materials about as close as we get. From a DOE study [osti.gov] :

As an example, computer simulations for Los Angeles, CA show that resurfacing about two-third of the pavements and rooftops with reflective surfaces and planting three trees per house can cool down LA by an average of 2-3K. This reduction in air temperature will reduce urban smog exposure in the LA basin by roughly the same amount as removing the basin entire onroad vehicle exhaust. Heat island mitigation is an effective air pollution control strategy, more than paying for itself in cooling energy cost savings. We estimate that the cooling energy savings in U.S. from cool surfaces and shade trees, when fully implemented, is about $5 billion per year (about $100 per air-conditioned house).

Amazing, isn't it? Two to three degrees in temperature reduction in a major city just by resurfacing, repainting, and planting trees. Yeah, sure, it's not sexy. But the cost savings ... staggering. Add in the health benefits of reducing smog, plus the reduction of human misery from over-heated citys, and you wonder why we haven't done this years ago.

I know this is going to sound like a self-serving political statement from a hardcore Democrat -- but well done, President Obama. You picked a scientist to run an agency. You gave him a mission to better humanity through reducing carbon emissions and energy consumption. You gave him a platform where he would be heard. Well done indeed.

Re:Nice to have a Sec of Energy actually Read the (2)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 4 years ago | (#28115287)

well done, President Obama. You picked a scientist to run an agency. You gave him a mission to better humanity through reducing carbon emissions and energy consumption. You gave him a platform where he would be heard.

Heard, but will he be heeded?
Cynic says no.

White crop fields? (1)

brasselv (1471265) | more than 4 years ago | (#28115191)

Can't we genetically engineer crop fields, to make the them white?

This is not entirely a joke, there's a similar idea [wikipedia.org] in the original Gaia Hypothesis [wikipedia.org] , even if only as a thought experiment.

Re:White crop fields? (1)

PhysicsPhil (880677) | more than 4 years ago | (#28115425)

Can't we genetically engineer crop fields, to make the them white?

If the crops are reflecting all the light, what are they going to use to power photosynthesis?

Re:White crop fields? (1)

paazin (719486) | more than 4 years ago | (#28115427)

Can't we genetically engineer crop fields, to make the them white?

This is not entirely a joke, there's a similar idea in the original Gaia Hypothesis, even if only as a thought experiment.

Psh, forget Steven Chu - they should get Will Wright running this thing!

Re:White crop fields? (1)

sweetking (1289558) | more than 4 years ago | (#28115459)

This may be a problem seeing that chlorophyll makes them so green and the fact that reflecting sunlight from an organism that uses the sun to create energy is probably not a good idea.

Light Pollution (2, Funny)

AnonGCB (1398517) | more than 4 years ago | (#28115195)

So, nobody is worried about even worse light pollution from this? The night sky is already obfuscated in most cities, even in smaller cities and suburbs. I do agree something needs to be done, but the negatives seem to outweigh the benefits here (from the few comments I've read)

Re:Light Pollution (3, Insightful)

chrispitude (535888) | more than 4 years ago | (#28115367)

You're worried about nighttime light pollution from white roofs reflecting more sunlight? (I doubt moonlight would be significant enough to be a factor.)

why roofs in hot countries are whitewashed (4, Insightful)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 4 years ago | (#28115197)

That's nice for the hot countries. What about cold countries? Maybe we like having black roofs and roads to melt the snow faster if there's a little opening?

Not really news (1)

93 Escort Wagon (326346) | more than 4 years ago | (#28115247)

Well, okay, it's news but it's OLD news - I heard this idea from a number of climate researchers back in the early 1990s. I suppose there's a possibility it might gain more traction in today's climate (no pun intended), but I'm skeptical.

White paint or solar panels? (4, Insightful)

Hankenstein (107201) | more than 4 years ago | (#28115339)

Or we could put solar panels on roofs and convert the sunlight, that would ordinarily be
converted to heat, into electricity which I am sure we could find a use for.

Let's pave the road with solar cells. (1)

jrifkin (100192) | more than 4 years ago | (#28115363)

I we could develop a cheap solar panel for paving our roads and parking lots, we could solve two problems at once.

According to Yahoo answers there are 61,000 square miles of pavement in the US. Assuming about 750 watt/meter, with about 2 hours of sunlight per day, and 10% efficiency, that works out to an average power of 1000 Gigawatts. That should put a real dent in our power consumption.

paint the ocean (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#28115383)

What if we just poured a bunch of white paint in the ocean? Would that work too? Man we'd have to make a lot of paint for his plan to work. Good thing paint doesn't pollute the earth more than carbon. Oh wait. It does.

Save the earth, eliminate your carbon footprint... (1)

GottliebPins (1113707) | more than 4 years ago | (#28115389)

Step 1: Dig a hole
Step 2: Climb into hole
Step 3: Bury yourself
Step 4: Earth saved!

Ridiculous (4, Interesting)

jdb2 (800046) | more than 4 years ago | (#28115461)

Paint roofs white? With the efficiency increases in photo-electric technology, why not put solar panels on every roof? Not only would we reduce the amount of heat being re-radiated back into the atmosphere but, if done on a global scale, we'd eliminate one of the primary reasons for climate change in the first place : the burning of fossil fuels. And before you respond with "but it will cost too much and generate more CO2 than it eliminates" let me give you one word : Bootstrapping [wikipedia.org] . That's right -- Use the power from the existing global infrastructure for solar energy capture to build more global infrastructure for solar energy capture; That way, you would generate a minimal amount of greenhouse gases in the manufacture of new solar panels while at the same time creating a self-sustaining positive feedback loop wherein the more energy we can capture, the more energy capture infrastructure we can build, resulting in our ability to capture more energy.

I didn't RTFA but the summary sounds retarded.

jdb2

Great for Global warming.... (5, Interesting)

puppetman (131489) | more than 4 years ago | (#28115467)

and sea levels, but not for the pH balance of the oceans, which are acidifying as they absorb additional carbon [wikipedia.org] from the atmosphere.

I remember reading about green roofs (growing plants etc on the roof of buildings) and the effect it had on temperatures when done in urban environments [wikipedia.org] :

Reduce heating (by adding mass and thermal resistance value) and cooling (by evaporative cooling) loads on a building â" especially if it is glassed in so as to act as a terrarium and passive solar heat reservoir â" a concentration of green roofs in an urban area can even reduce the city's average temperatures during the summer.

The Fairmont Hotel, here in Vancouver BC does this, growing herbs for the hotel kitchens. [uwaterloo.ca]

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