Sunday, April 26, 2009

Why Doesn’t The Stimulus Include Money For Painting Roofs And Roads White?

Readers of this blog know that I'm anthropogenic global warming skeptic. I tend to believe that whatever changes in climate we may face in the coming years, they will be caused by variations in solar output. If anything, the current decline in sunspot activity strongly suggest we are headed toward a period of global cooling. That said, I find ideas like this to be fascinating:

[P]ainting 100 square feet of roof space white offsets the effect of one ton of CO2 emissions. So an American family of four could offset their annual carbon emissions with 8000 square feet of white space. If cities around the world lightened all their roads, parking lots and roofs, it “would offset 44 gigatons of CO2 emissions” — or about 18 months worth of emissions for the entire human family. Overall, the three scientists figure their plan could delay the effects of global warming by 11 extra years.

The idea has been around for a long time three scientists have put some very compelling data behind it — and found that the effects involved are much larger than most people had figured. The findings only put more weight behind arguments like the made in a 2007 Business Week article that the money we’re spending on building solar capacity as a way to address climate change would be far more effectively spent on white paint to be splashed across WalMart rooftops and Food Lion parking lots. It’s kind of threatening to the techno-fix “someday we’ll all be tooling around in tidal-powered Hummers” mentality that often drives the debate around global warming solutions, but I haven’t seen any arguments that take on the substance of it.

More here.

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