I see a black road and I want it painted white.
In a Washington Post op-ed today, that “septical environmentalist,” Bjorn Lomborg, advocated whitewashing roof-tops and streets to reflect sunlight in hopes of reducing the alleged warming impacts of manmade greenhouse gas emissions.
In support of his proposal, Lomborg cited a recernt paper by Hashem Akbari estimating that every 100 square feet of black surface painted white would offset one ton of carbon dioxide emitted. Akbari estimates that if all urban roof-tops and streets were painted white, about 44 billion tons of CO2-equivalent would be offset. Akbari claims this would offset the effect of the growth in emissions rates for 11 years.
Akbari estimates that roof-tops and streets cover about 910 billion square meters of the Earth’s surface. Given the coverage of a gallon of paint (about 400 square feet or 37.2 square meters), it would only take about 27 billion cans of paint (allowing for 10 percent waste) to do the job. This would be great for the paint industry which only sells about 630 million gallons of paint annually in the U.S. And of course, once we finish painting the world white, it will be time for another coat. BTW, it costs about $8 per gallon to dispose of paint, about $20 billion for the amount of paint at issue.
Lomborg concludes his op-ed with,
Obviously, whether it involves dikes or buckets of white paint, adaptation is not a long-term solution to global warming. Rather, it will enable us to get by while we figure out the best way to address the root causes of man-made climate change. This may not seem like much, but at a time when fears of a supposedly imminent apocalypse threaten to swamp rational debate about climate policy, it’s worth noting that coping with climate change is something we know how to do.
So Lomborg apparently wants us to spend trillions of dollars continually whitewashing the world while “we” figure out how to address those “root causes of man-made climate change.” Of course, Lomborg has already decided what needs to be done:
Ultimately, we’re not going to solve any of these problems until we figure out a way to stop pumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
Meet the new Al Gore. Same as the old Al Gore.