Wednesday, May 27, 2009

In which President Obama takes my advice 

In the spirit of giving credit when it is due, we note with more than a little interest that the Obama administration wants people to paint their rooftops and other sun-drenched surfaces white to increase the reflectivity of the earth's surface. The idea is to mitigate the greenhouse effect two ways, by reducing the manufactured energy consumed by the air-conditioning of buildings and automobiles and the solar energy absorbed by the planet. It is a great idea, in part because it is completely reversible, but also because I argued for it two years ago!


By Anonymous Squealer, at Wed May 27, 04:50:00 PM:

Can't wait to hear the excuses when it comes time to paint all the fine slate and copper roofs in Princeton! One plus is it will become easy to ascertain our neighbors' piety,,, indeed, whole neighborhoods could be reduced to a green piety quotient simply by counting and comparing rooftops in Google Earth.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed May 27, 05:05:00 PM:

If you have a flat roof (most homes don't, but hey) they say it's better to plant roof garden tracts...even with moss.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed May 27, 05:09:00 PM:

Since I just spent a ton repairing part of my slate roof I can tell you I'm in favor of white roofs in all future dwellings.

If the President is taking advice, he ought to take this advice first. I'm not claiming white roofs aren't imortant, they most certainly would be a good thing, but solvency is too.  

By Anonymous Brian Schmidt, at Wed May 27, 05:24:00 PM:

Obama has clearly paid more attention to TH's advice than Bush did.

Worth noting that the idea is from Chu's colleague, so he's probably known about it for quite a while.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Wed May 27, 07:11:00 PM:

It's an innocuous idea. Meaningless, too, in terms of climate.

Next time you take an overland flight on a clear day, look down and do a rough estimate of the percentage of the earth's surface you see out the window that is covered by roofs. Think it's as high as one percent? Then factor that water covers 3/4ths of the globe. Yeah, reflective painting works, as people in hot places already know, but the effect is local, not broad.

But then, the urging was all about political grandstanding.  

By Blogger joated, at Wed May 27, 07:44:00 PM:

I wouldn't be so quick to paint everything white. Passive solar HEATING is important from November to April in most areas north of the Mason-Dixon Line.  

By Blogger JPMcT, at Wed May 27, 08:20:00 PM:

The concept is scientifically meaningless, unproven, expensive to deal with and smacks of political posturing....actually....it's a lot like Global Warming, isn't it??  

By Anonymous feeblemind, at Wed May 27, 11:52:00 PM:

Re Anon 7:11 pm. joated 7:44 pm and JPMcT 8:20 pm. Well said guys. Bravo!  

By Blogger Brian, at Thu May 28, 01:18:00 AM:

TH, I think the intellectual depth of conservative thought regarding climate change is demonstrated pretty well by some of the reactions here to this idea, especially their confidence in their ignorance.  

By Blogger Dawnfire82, at Thu May 28, 08:57:00 AM:

You sure do sound snidely superior, considering you've done nothing to prove or disprove any element of the idea other than state your approval of it.  

By Blogger Georgfelis, at Thu May 28, 11:33:00 AM:

Nope, Brian didn't even do that, there is no agree or disagree in his note. Looks like a Drive By Snarking.

Yet another Bush era idea adopted by the Obama administration. Just waiting on CC to comment...  

By Anonymous Brian Schmidt, at Thu May 28, 01:11:00 PM:

You see what I mean, TH? They've never read the link to the Lawrence Livermore analysis on the issue that you've supplied repeatedly on this blog (or if they have, they're keeping their reasoned refutations very quiet). Yet they're confident the idea is complete bull. Why is that? Because it's now an Obama Administration proposal and it's related to climate change.  

By Blogger JPMcT, at Thu May 28, 05:06:00 PM:

Brian, the comments about everybody painting their roof white speak for themselves. The concept is so inane on it's own merit, that I really didn't think I had to "disprove" it by mentioning that the model used to predict the albedo shift is not accurate, the theory does not take cloud cover into account and the practical fact that EVERY ROOF SURFACE ON EARTH would have to be painted AND MAINTAINED white to achieve a theoretical increase in albedo of 0.1!!

The concept: Unproven
The cost: enormous
The practicality: nonexistent

Personally, I think we should spend our public dollars getting reliable data on the actual concept of "climate change" (formerly called global warming until the warming stopped).

By "reliable" I refer to data that is not politically poisoned by grant dependency, obtained with reliable hardware and analyzed with viable modeling.

So far, I have **nothing** on which to base an opinion about climate "change". We do, however, have a whole lot of really foolish and potentially dangerous things like Cap and Trade, white roof paint, Carbon credits, Emission treaties, etc. that run the risk of destroying our economy LONG BEFORE mother earth has her way with us.  

By Anonymous Anonymous, at Sat May 30, 03:49:00 AM:

In a posting dated May 28, Roy Spencer, a NASA climate scientist, takes a look at the article on reflective surfaces, in "White Roofs and Global Warming: A More Realistic Perspective." FYI.

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