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Modifying Urban Surface Reflectivity Levels Could Slash 150 Billion Tons of CO2


The Sun, our only external source of energy, is also responsible for the heat on Earth. This heat is what makes all life possible on our blue planet. However, this energy is also responsible for global warming. Imagine cities reflecting this sunlight away from Earth.

A team of researchers from Concordia University did some research on what effects a global change in the surface reflectivity will bring. The findings of this research were published in the journal Environmental Research Letters published by IOP Publishing under the heading “The long-term effect of increasing the albedo of urban areas”. By increasing the albedo of urban areas, the temperature inside buildings dramatically decreases, thus reducing the need to use energy on cooling mechanisms.

The simulation results were outstanding. By increasing the albedo of every urban area by 0.1 it is possible to have a CO2 offset ranging from 130 to 150 billion tons. Albedo is measured on a scale ranging from 0 for a non-reflecting, perfectly black surface to 1 for a perfectly white surface. This is roughly equivalent to taking every car off the road for the next 50 years. In carbon trading, this amount of CO2 alone is worth around $3500 billion.

Changing rooftops and paved surfaces globally looks like a very hard goal to reach. But with help from local governments, planning institutes and relevant authorities this is an achievable concept that would change the course of humankind. Professor Hashem Akbari, the leading author of the paper, stated “It is all based on planning, codes and policies. If we really put the nuts and bolts in place, we can get close to 100 per cent of urban areas increasing the albedo of surfaces.”

[via phys.org]

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  1. How reflective are the oceans and seas? Planet is covered by water 78% or there abouts. What about the cloud cover…it’s white right and at any given time how much of the earth is covered by clouds? I would think alot or so it seems from the satelitie views I’m looking at. So the idea is to paint the roof tops white to reflect the suns energy back in to space. This on the surface seems like a good idea but really I think it’s just a scam for money increased regulations etc, etc, If all cities on this planet were 100% reflective and you added them all together it would amount to almost less than nothing. Besides utilizing current technology it’s cheaper to cool than it is to heat.

    My suggestion is for people to learn how to adapt which is what we are really good at. The planet is getting warmer (could be said it’s been on a steady increase ever since the last ice age) Mankind may be adding a thimble of water to the ocean but we have no control over it. We just haven’t be around long enough or polluting long enough to have any impact on a system as large as the earth and an event that has been in the works on a geologic time scale. Mankind thinks we have a hand in everything but I’m sorry to inform you we’re not that important.

    Now that being said can we be better stewards of our planet? Of course we can, we can be more efficient, we can be cleaner in how we do things and we can try to balance what we do with the enviroment around us. I believe I am a true green optimistic because I believe we are a part of the system (a very small part). If indeed we are as powerful as we think we are why haven’t we bumped Mars into the goldielocks zone? I’m sure a math student could figure out just what it would take to do it. Doesn’t mean we could anytime soon. The point is someone woke up one morning and came up with an idea of using a natural occurance to faciliate a global scam. People are becoming more enviromentally aware which is good but somebody (greedy, power hungry and ultimately evil) currupted the process by trying to elevate mans ability to control the climate….what arogance.

    Maybe someday as a species we will have some small part to play in controling the climate but it’s not now. Think about it how long have we been making electricity? (just an example) How long since the industrial revolution? So a couple of hundred years (actually less much less) of activity is susposed to have an impact on a grand scale of a system measured in geologic time which is millions and millions of years? Logic suggests the answer is no. Sorry we just dont have a dog in the fight….we might be a flea on a dog in the fight and have just about as much influence over the outcome.

    That’s why it’s a scam. So every time I hear about global warming or climate change it simply reinforces the simple understanding that we are currupt as a species we seek money and power not to control the climate but to control the minds and hearts of the people.

    I’ll be glad when we as a species grow beyond our desire to manipulate, we are just infants in the grand scheme of things we have obtained a speck of knowledge and now we think we control. How small we truely are.


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