Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Fight global warming with white paint?

I am not a scientist, ("IANAS"), but I do have more science in my education than most non-scientists and have been a science aficionado since early childhood so I will venture an opinion that global warming is a real and serious threat despite claims to the contrary by certain deniers, (rather suspiciously associated with right wing politics). I further believe that too much time has been lost for the danger to be much mitigated solely by overdue attempts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We will need "geo-engineering" countermeasures. This risks unanticipated and unintended consequences, but that has become unavoidable.

I was pleased to see the suggestion of US Energy Secretary Steven Chu that warming can be reduced by coloring roofs and roads white or other highly reflective hues. Especially in major cities the many flat black tarred roofs produce "heat islands" raising the local temperature several degrees. It should be harmless enough to reverse this unnatural effect, although there would be side effects. For example, there tends to be more rain downwind of such heat islands than upwind so rainfall might even out if the heat islands were weakened or eliminated.

Someone interested in researching an investment idea might want to find out who makes paint suitable for painting rooftops white as well as finding out where the paint manufacturer gets the pigments for the paint.

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