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Sure, I'll paint my roof white

With the money I've got left over from cancelling my health insurance! AFP:

US Energy Secretary Steven Chu said Tuesday the Obama administration wanted to paint roofs an energy-reflecting white, as he took part in a climate change symposium in London.

The Nobel laureate in physics called for a "new revolution" in energy generation to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

But he warned there was no silver bullet for tackling climate change, and said a range of measures should be introduced, including painting flat roofs white.

Making roads and roofs a paler colour could have the equivalent effect of taking every car in the world off the road for 11 years, Chu said.

It was a geo-engineering scheme that was "completely benign" and would keep buildings cooler and reduce energy use from air conditioning, as well as reflecting sunlight back away from the Earth.

Sensible in the abstract, and I love that somebody's thinking this way, but who pays, exactly?

As Versailles writes off more and more of the population as useless eaters -- 8% unemployment, L-shaped recession, entitlement "reform," no single payer -- it's increasingly unclear how these good green measures are to be implemented voluntarily. Eh? I mean, come on. If you're being thrown out of your home by the banksters, you're going to paint the roof white? And if you're not, who is?

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Submitted by jawbone on

Have studies been done in colder climes which evaluate the effect of roof color on retaining heat in the winters vs. reflecting heat in the summers?

How about research to bring down the cost and increase the efficiency of solar panels --or, iirc, making shingles, other roof coverings, into solar collectors?-- and helping people that way? Anyone who cleans out gutters sees that asphalt shingles continually shed.

A guest on WNYC said that if every roof in NYC which could be used for solar collectors had them in place, NYC could provide all the electricity required for the city along with surrounding areas (I can't recall just how far out from the city). That was using collectors at today's limited efficiency.

If such a program were in place, the legislation should ensure that there the electricity is the same rate for property owners as those living in apartments, who have a lower carbon footprint. The collectors should be provided by the government as a social program for all.

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Submitted by Sarah on

There's a theory that if it can be lightened (i.e. white roofs, white gravel in the roads, etc.) global warming will slow down significantly.

How to pay for it? I don't know. I think the thing that's most important right now is to quit harping on won't or can't and do what each of us can where we are with what we've got.

Waiting for magic is a great way to fail altogether.

Submitted by cg.eye on

We've already got a problem with astronomers wanting to cut down on nighttime lighting because the wattage from urban sprawl's interfering with their radio telescopes. Has anyone consulted them on what's best for their needs? Would white roofs make the light bouncing from homes and streets worse?

I bring them up because near and outer space research is part of helping us figure out what we can do about global warming, too.