Roof paint

President Obama’s energy adviser has suggested all the world’s roofs should be painted white as part of efforts to slow global warming.

Professor Steven Chu, the US Energy Secretary, said the unusual proposal would mean homes in hot countries would save energy and money on air conditioning by deflecting the sun’s rays.

More pale surfaces could also slow global warming by reflecting heat into space rather than allowing it to be absorbed by dark surfaces where it is trapped by greenhouse gases and increases temperatures.

In a wide-ranging discussion at the three-day Nobel laureate Symposium in London, the Professor described climate change as a “crisis situation”, and called for a whole host of measures to be introduced, from promoting energy efficiency to renewable energy such as wind, wave and solar.

The Nobel Prize-winning physicist said the US was not considering any large scale “geo-engineering” projects where science is used to reverse global warming, but was in favour of “white roofs everywhere”.

  1. ArianeB says:

    #60 Yep another example of missing the difference between “how much” and “what’s going up?”

    There have been times in the past where temperatures were warmer than today, that is true, but as far as science can tell, the rate of increase in temperatures (the derivative for you Calculus fans) has never come close to what we are now experiencing. It is in geological terms equivalent to the rapid decline in temperatures after the asteroid impact that killed off the dinosaurs.

    Warming and cooling trends in the past have taken hundreds and even thousands of years to develop, the results of natural forces. The slow rates of increases allowed nature to adjust accordingly. The human caused global warming of today is moving so fast, nature can’t keep up, resulting in related disasters like acidic oceans and increases in atmospheric methane trapped for millenia in the Arctic ice cap.

  2. ArianeB says:

    sorry, did not mean to bold everything

  3. #32 – aslightlycrankygeek,

    1) I don’t really care what you said because you were not talking to me.

    Get a clue. Sometimes the numbers on the posts change as the editors approve a comment that was sent to the spam bucket. That’s why, unlike you, I put your name as well as the post number in my reply.

    2) is Steven Milloy’s site, though I am sure you read that on a blog somewhere and took it as fact.

    3) If you have seen a more thorough analysis of historic climate data than what is presented in the link I provided, please share with the rest of us.

    2008 was a La Nina year (cold) and still the 10th warmest on record. Here’s NASA’s graph. It still looks warmer than 10 years ago to me.

    4) Please stop cluttering the blog with multiple comments which say the same thing over and over again, especially those which offer nothing of interest and consist simply of attacks and commands of people to give you links.

    I back up what I say with links. I expect the same from others.

  4. #58 – ArianeB,

    Despite #60’s lame comeback, excellent post. You’ve made a number of really great points.

    #60 – jbenson2,

    We’re already warmer than that little warm period you mention. The trends, if we continue with business as usual, and possibly even if we don’t indicate temperatures ahead not seen since 55 million years ago. We, as a species, have lived through colder times in the past 200,000 years. We have not lived through warmer times. It remains to be seen whether we can.

  5. MikeN says:

    Painting roofs white has a negligible effect, as is just about every other idea. Even the 80%reduction in emissions being proposed in Congress will reduce temperatures by less than .5 degrees, out of 4.5C. If Europe goes along, then the reduction is still just 1C out of 4.5C.

    Start talking when the Chinese agree to an 80% reduction, which would lower 4.5C of warming to 2.4C.

  6. Toxic Asshead says:

    #58 – “Using less energy is an obvious good thing” ONLY if it doesn’t involve humans having a lower standard of living!

    Smaller cars/houses, less private property, mass transit, less urban sprawl… these are unnecessary sacrifices for no good purpose. Get your priorities straight. Without humans always having more, there’s no purpose to the universe.

  7. #67 – Toxic Asshead,

    Really? What about the 70,000 – 130,000 people in the U.S. alone who die of air pollution every year?

    Is stopping some of those deaths not a good purpose?

    As for the purpose of the universe, there is none with or without our pathetic little species (that I happen to hate) on this pathetic little rock (that I happen to love) orbiting this pathetic medium sized star in just one out of 100,000,000,000 galaxies in the observable universe.

    If you think your driving of a huge-ass SUV is what the universe is all about, you have some serious delusions of grandeur.

    Oh … and on a planet of fixed size, how can humans possibly always have more, especially if there are still greater numbers of humans to come?

  8. ArianeB says:

    #67 “Get your priorities straight. Without humans always having more, there’s no purpose to the universe.”

    Except it is impossible. There are upper limits to growth that we are already reaching in many areas. Part of the reason for this current recession are those limits, and the brick wall standing in our way of a true economic recovery are those limits.

  9. Patrick says:

    “Consensus” becomes important when the absence of facts makes your case impossible to scientifically prove.

    Newton didn’t need consensus as he could actually prove what he discovered.

  10. Dallas says:

    Idea makes total sense. Small changes on a large scale can have huge impact.

    More practical ideas from the Obama administration to improve the situation and allow everyone to participate.

    More great ideas:
    – turn off lights when not needed, use CCF bulb
    – lower thermostat
    – tire pressure.
    – many more

    Everyone can do their part. It just takes a leader – we now have one.

  11. Patrick says:

    So, where is the new base energy production facilities to get us off foreign oil?

  12. Guyver says:

    44, It’s far more easier to run computer simulations based on an assumption rather than put on a winter jacket and go collect data at the ends of the Earth. Which is science?

    The best science available is probably not the IPCC. It’s way too political. One should not insist on behavioral / policy changes when there are no cold hard facts over the causes.

    As for the anti-gold digger “hypothesis”, it will never happen as we both know. It’s too “immoral” and would put a burden on the women because women would be held more accountable for their decisions. If the woman wants the baby and the guy is clear he does not, he should be able to exercise a get out of jail free card to “level the playing field”. The man has no rights to his own personal liberties while the woman does. It should be 50-50 rather than 100-0. The laws are from an age when women relied on the man for everything. Surely with all the women’s rights and feminism going on, this sort of policy should be removed so as to not coerce a man into servitude over an unwanted child.

    58, Okay boy genius.

    Fact 1: There is no consensus that global warming is in fact man-made. I never said global warming is or isn’t happening.

    Fact 2: Water vapor is a green house gas in much greater abundance than CO2. Is that next on the list of global warming pollutants?

    Fact 3: Now that CO2 is considered “pollution” and humans exhale pollution, there mere act of having more babies is contributing to global warming just from breathing alone. How long do you suppose you and your ilk will want to impose a one-child rule like in China in order to help save the planet? Afterall, human population has increased over the past 150 years and we can control that much like the Chinese. LOL. If not for the breathing, then for a reduced rate of consumption. 🙂

    Fact 4: There is no CAUSAL relationship established between CO2 and temperature. At least not yet. Unless you’re using IPCC computer simulations which operate on the assumption that CO2 is the cause. That’s not science and that’s not trying to be a global-warming denier.

    As for your CO2 vs. Fossil Fuels, it seems you like to toot your own horn in being a Master of the Obvious. Gee, if I burn more fossil fuels the amount of man-made CO2 will also go up. DUH.

    Go read the link in post #41 which addresses the flaws of the IPCC from someone from the inside. If you’re objective you hopefully won’t label him a denier too.

  13. bobbo says:

    #7 4–Guyver–I used to “believe” in global warming but have become agnostic as I do see the IPCC as too political and I do recognize that Modeling the System is not proof and there have been too many flaws in its construction.

    Still–put co2 in a balloon and the higher the concentration, the faster and longer it gets hot compared to lower concentrations. Not proof–just “the best science.”

    But then there are retards like Patrick who parade their ignorance against GW, and it makes me a believer again.

  14. javadog says:

    the idea that you are going to make any difference in a problem that is really a non-problem by painting your roof white is beyond me. the footprint of your house roof in relation to the planet as a whole is just silly. here in California we are driving business out of the state with Green requirements. so they go south to Mexico with no regulation, pollute twice as much as we did, and what, that pollution just stays in that area….give me a break…

  15. Guyver says:

    75, But the question should now be is the CO2 we emit significant enough to have a measurable negative impact?

    Earth is not the only planet in our solar system going through global warming.

  16. Guyver says:

    76, The state of Texas thanks the state of California in helping to build their tech sector.

  17. Patrick says:

    If the green loons really believed that CO2 was going to destroy the planet they’d kill themselves so as to reduce it.

  18. bobbo says:

    #79–Patrick==you need more cow bell.

    #77–Guyver==yes, thats one of the main questions, but unless you think dumping billions of tons in the atmosphere every year will have no impact or a positive impact, what is your best guess?

    Other planets are irrelevant given all the other variable introduced and if you won’t accept modeling here on Earth, why accept it for other planets?

  19. MikeN says:

    Dallas do all of those things, and still you get no change in world temperatures, according to the models.

    An 80% emissions reduction from the US, would only achieve a .4 degree drop in temperatures.

    Also, for 2 of your 3 ideas, if electricity/gas cost per use go down, then you will use more.

  20. Olo Baggins of Bywater says:

    #33 hale-bopp…careful with the science discussion, you made a fundamental (and rather common) mistake. IR radiation and IR light are two very different things, and widely separated on the electromagnetic spectrum. IR light, near IR, is just at the outskirts of visible light. It’s nothing special. Use any crappy CMOS or CCD camera to see it.

    OTOH IR radiation, far IR, is the beast associated with radiant heat. It is not easily visible, you need a minimum $1k device to get thermal IR images.

  21. Toxic Asshead says:

    #68 –

    What does air pollution have to do with big cars? Different subject. Cars today are an order of magnitude cleaner that a generation ago. If you insist on changing the power source that’s fine as long as the requirements of life are met: Vehicles cannot get smaller or more expensive. Hell, that would allow more SUVs on the road which would be a good thing.

    If the planet doesn’t have enough resources, then we have to expand into the whole solar system.

    If the way to save humanity is smart cars, the humanity would be better off extinct because there is no meaning to a life lived in high density housing and driving smart cars. If humanity has no meaning then the universe has no meaning and must go away with humanity.

    God drives a SUV.

  22. Guyver says:


    I don’t have a problem with encouraging people to not p1ss in their backyards. I do have issue with government slamming global warming alarmist chants down everyone’s throats and wanting everyone to conform before we really know what the causes are.

    I’m not saying that there’s no impact or a positive impact. I’m asking are those billions of tons you speak of enough to make our atmosphere flinch with respect to what we’re producing or exhaling?

    Rise in temperatures on other planets do not have to be “modeled”…. modeling tries to explain the “whys”. The rise in temperatures of other planets are simply historical data. What we can gleen from the global warming of other planets is that humans certainly were not the cause of it…. but yet it occurs. Coincidence? Or are we barking up the wrong tree?

  23. Alphasiderius says:

    Wait a minute, if you live in a temperate to cold climate, would you not loose the benefit of positive solar gain in heat during the day if you have a dark roof and increase you burning of fuel for heat?

  24. #84 – Appropriately Named Toxic Asshead,

    Do you really think you made any points with this? I think you made my points by showing how stupid your own are.

    “God drives a [sic] SUV”??!!?

  25. Mr. Fusion says:

    #83, Mr. Baggins,

    Thank you for that post. This is science I learned last century and had totally forgotten.

  26. Mr. Fusion says:

    #86, Alphalfa,

    No. Read the article.

  27. Don says:

    What percent of the earth surface is covered by roofs? Painting every roof white wouldn’t affect global warming at all. I don’t have air conditioning, but I do have a furnace. Painting my roof white would mean my house would be colder and I’d have to heat more.

    What I don’t understand is why the “green” movement is out to get rid of CO2. Plants need CO2 for photosynthesis. If it weren’t for CO2 in the atmosphere, every plant on the planet would die. A study was done on soy beans where they found that soy bean production increased when CO2 levels were high. Lower the CO2 and we would have less food. Get CO2 to zero and we have zero food. I think a more accurate color would be brown because of all the dead plants from lack of CO2. CO2 is 0.054% of the atmosphere. It’s a very minor green house gas. Water vapor is 1% and is a major green house gas. No one is talking about pulling all the water out of the atmosphere though.

    When nukes first came on the scene, scientists started talking about a “nuclear ice age” which would happen if a lot of nukes were used at once. If you want to cool the planet, set off a bunch of nukes, fill the atmosphere with dust, and all that dust will reflect heat out into space. We need to pollute more, not less, to cool the planet.

    Guyver (#26) is right. In the 70s, scientists were worried about global cooling. There was a prediction that in 10 years or so (which would have been in the 80s), we would have ice from pole to pole and the planet would freeze up into a big snowball. When I hear all the doom and gloom on the news, I just laugh. If reporters said we were going through a warming trend but it’s nothing to worry about, no one would watch. If they say it’s a catastrophe and we’re all going to die, that gets people’s attention and the press gets more revenue. It’s all hype people!!! The IPCC is looking at computer models, not at real data. Computer models can prove anything you want them to prove. They are not accurate predictors of weather trends. There is too many variables.

    By the way, last winter was unusually cold, wasn’t it? We had a lot of snow here. New Orleans even had snow. A year ago, Bagdad had snow. Is it really getting warmer?

  28. a person says:

    bull shit

  29. Don says:

    Ok, prove me wrong. I tried to post links to sites to illustrate my point but it was regarded as spam so I’ll give Google searches instead.

    CO2 needed for plants:
    search for “PHOTOSYNTHESIS CO2” You will see that plants require CO2 to live.

    Find a CO2 generator for greenhouses by searching for:
    “greenhouse supplies CO2 generator”

    Nuclear winter:
    search for “nuclear winter”

    Global cooling:
    search for “Newsweek 1975 global cooling”

    New Orleans snow:
    search for “New Orleans snow”. It was a very unusual event.

    Snow in Baghdad:
    search for “First snow for 100 years falls on Baghdad”

    On what point was I wrong?


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