Painting the world

As a weapon against global warming, it sounds so simple and low-tech that it could not possibly work. But the idea of using millions of buckets of whitewash to avert climate catastrophe has won the backing of one of the world’s most influential scientists.

Steven Chu, the Nobel prize-winning physicist appointed by President Obama as Energy Secretary, wants to paint the world white. A global initiative to change the colour of roofs, roads and pavements so that they reflect more sunlight and heat could play a big part in containing global warming, he said yesterday.

Given that this is coming from the Nobel winning scientist appointed by the ObamaMessiah, this will of course create squeals of rapture in leftoids everywhere.

The only thing that\’s a bit odd about it is that when Bjorn Lomborg made the same proposal a couple of years back it was treated with contempt.

I guess it matters who makes such suggestions rather more than what the suggestions are then.

10 thoughts on “Painting the world”

  1. When I read about the original Lomborg proposal; (didn’t he suggest painting roofs & roads?) I was interested enough to look into it a little further.

    I’ve got loads of photos of Europe, taken from high elevations, of locations from Holland to southern Spain. Using Photoshop, it’s possible to analyse the albedo of selected areas of interest like roofs & roads in direct sunlight & compare them with items in the image known to be either dead black or pure white for reference.
    The result didn’t turn out to be very exciting at all. Southern lands tend to use relatively highly reflective roofing materials & the dust on areas of tarmac produces a greyscale not far off pure white.
    Up north, the reflectivity’s lower. More use of slate roofs & dark red roofing tiles & the regular rain keeps the roads cleaner. But these are factors we’d want to encourage, surely, to reduce heating costs & keep roads ice free.
    In other words, what’s being suggested is exactly what people have been doing for, oh, the last 2000 years or so. If they haven’t actually painted the roofs white it’s because white painted roofs don’t stay white for very long. Weathering & dust reduces the reflectivity to little better than a pale yellow or pink natural tile very rapidly.
    Interesting, as well, is the increasing use of pantiles as you move south (Pantiles are those things that make the roofs look as if they’ve been covered by parallel lengths of pipe for those unacquainted to architectural terms). They’re brilliant for dispersing heat because of their high surface area (1/2Pi times the roof area I would imagine) & the way that the underside shape in conjunction with the roof fabric produces an insulating layer of air keeping the heat from penetrating into the building & allowing it to be re-radiated come nightfall.
    Seems to me that this problem was tackled for us by the Romans (or was it the Etruscans) who may have been democrats on occasions but certainly weren’t Democrats.

  2. So we all run around painting everything white and save the world? Perhaps there is something in that “AGW is a religion”idea after all

  3. As a footnote to the above, it did occur to me that you could achieve quite a good effect by painting everything silver.
    On the other hand would we really want megatonnes of aluminium weathering into the environment & need welding goggles to drive a car on a sunny day?
    And, just a thought:
    When I tied to colour tune the rear view camera on my vehicle I got pretty good colour reproduction for reds & blues but could rarely get vegetation to show as anything other than white. It took me some time for the penny to drop. My camera sees much further into the infrared than I can. It’s how it produces an image at night. The chlorophyll in that roadside grass may look green to us, but it’s reflecting massive amounts of IR ie heat. Which is what we’re trying to achieve isn’t it?

  4. As someone who knows a bit about roofing, I’d be interested in just how one would go about painting asphalt shingles, tar and gravel roofs, copper and coated metal standing seam roofs and slate roofs.

    And what about the thatched roofs on those quaint and colorful native homes you Brits have out in the Coltswolds and such places?

    While I would certainly pay good money to watch Al Gore haul his fat ass up on a roof with a can of paint in one hand and a roller in the other, it really does appear governance is in the hands of extremely well-educated morons.

  5. Have I missed something here? I thought the problem with Global Warming was the temperature of the atmosphere, not the ground. This scheme, even if it did work, would stop heat entering the ground by reflecting it back into the atmosphere.

  6. You lot got trapped again. Discussing a non-existent object such as AGW merely legitimizes it.

    We long ago stopped debating how many angels could dance on the head of a pin. Time we stopped even discussing AGW and started on real problems like how to stop our own governments from stealing from us everything we own.

  7. @Squander Two

    You are right. Global Warming is as elusive as the Scarlet Pimpernel. First it was supposed to be in the atmosphere, then the oceans but now it it thought to be hiding in our rafters. How this squares with the non-existent, but deadly, urban heat island effect is a mystery.

  8. [email protected]
    Would that was true.
    Maybe if there had more Thomases & they’d doubted more volubly then denying the existence of angels with or without pins wouldn’t have got sceptics burnt at the stake.
    ‘Cause that’s where this religion’s headed.

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