Some recent scientific discoveries started to promote the metamorphose of cities into sunlight reflectors to fight global warming.
From theory to actual result
If people would start replacing the surface regular rooftops and roads with lighter materials, they could make a change in the level of carbon-monoxide emissions. Still, the idea was received with skepticism from the other scientists.
(photo credit: www.mnn.com)
Evaluating the impact
According to the researches, the decrease of these emissions could be equal to the sum of car emission generated by the standard city traffic. This is because the light colored materials reflect the sunlight. The darker materials absorb the sunrays and turn them into heat.
About 60% of the urban surfaces are represented by rooftops and pavements. These trap the energy of the sun so they can become heat islands. Thus the cities and towns become the so-called hotspots. Such heat islands need more energy for air conditioning and are responsible for generating the infamous city smog.
Costs vs. result
The scientists researching the matter also added that the costs of the changes aren’t as high as others may think. This is because the pavements and rooftops need to be changed anyway from time to time.
This means that when they need to be changed, people would simply switch them for another material.
It is true, that some of the materials could get more expensive. Still the savings that people would make are greater than the price difference.
Main issues to face
On the other hand there are some scientists who believe that even though the rooftops would be painted in white, it would only have a localized effect. This means that, although the effects could be seen in the urban areas, the changes wouldn’t have any effects in the remote areas, so the impact would be low on a global scale.
Another problem of this vision is that people would need to be really proactive to make it happen on a large scale. In the majority of the cases the houses and buildings are built by the owners themselves and the right to ownership is a big factor in this case.
How could scientists make them adopt the idea?
Usually the choice regarding the materials for the roof is determined by availability and affordability. The scientists also added that the rooftops represent only 0.05% of the total surface of the earth. This means that the project couldn’t have a significant impact.
The bottom line
The total costs of the project would be of about $300 billion per year. Because of this it may be one of the most expensive and least effective projects of them all. Still it is something that could work in the future.