White Rooftops Could Slow Climate Change

A new study released Tuesday concludes that if the rooftops of the world's 100 largest cities were painted white it could significantly cool the atmosphere.
September 11, 2008, 7am PDT | Tim Halbur
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"According to Hashem Akbari, a physicist with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, a 1,000-square-foot roof -- the average size on an American home -- offsets 10 metric tons of planet-heating carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere if dark-colored shingles or coatings are replaced with white material.

Globally, roofs account for 25% of the surface of most cities, and pavement accounts for about 35%. If all were switched to reflective material in 100 major urban areas, it would offset 44 metric gigatons of greenhouse gases, which have been trapping heat in the atmosphere and altering the climate on a potentially dangerous scale.

That is more than all the countries on Earth emit in a single year. And, with global climate negotiators focused on limiting a rapid increase in emissions, installing cool roofs and pavements would offset more than 10 years of emissions growth, even without slashing industrial pollution."

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Published on Wednesday, September 10, 2008 in The Los Angeles Times
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