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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