Could White Roofs Paint Greener Future?

Black roofs and asphalt absorb more heat. CBS/The Early Show

Could painting your roof white be an effective defense against global warming?

Some very important people think so.

Early Show national correspondent Hattie Kauffman put that idea to the test.

In any given city, most rooftops are black. And that's the problem. The darker the surface, the more heat it retains.

Kauffman was joined by "Bill Nye the Science Guy" on the roof of CBS Television City.

Nye used a meter to demonstrate that the lighter the surface, the better it is for the environment.

"The building doesn't get as hot, so you don't need to run the air conditioner nearly as long -- if (the roof is)white," Nye said.

A shiny example is the white-painted villages in Greece. Turns out they were ahead of their time. Energy Secretary Steven Chu says, if all rooftops and roads in the world were made white it could combat global warming.

"That would be the equivalent as if you took off all the automobiles of the world for of the world for eleven years," Chu said.

Think of it this way: Every year, you would keep 2.4 billion tons of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, or the emissions produced by 60 million cars. There would be even more savings if roads and parking lots were not covered in black asphalt.

"So the same needle says just 2 1/2 -- which means it's absorbing more heat, keeping the city warmer," he noted. "It's squandering billions of tons of carbon dioxide every year."

For much more information, visit "White Roofs Cool the World, Directly Offset CO2 and Delay Global Warming".
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