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LA Looks To Combat Climate Change With 'Cool Streets' Technology

SOUTH LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – In an effort to tackle global warming, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has announced a new campaign to cool the city's streets.

Garcetti showcased the campaign Tuesday on West 54th Street in South L.A., explaining that the plan involves covering pavement with a coating that reflects heat, unlike tradition black asphalt, which absorbs it.

LA Looks To Combat Climate Change With 'Cool Streets' Technology
A stretch of West 54th Street in South Los Angeles which has been coated with a "cool streets" coating, designed to combat climate change. Oct. 22, 2019. (CBS2)

"Los Angeles is leading and putting cool pavement surfaces out in the street, so that researchers can come and evaluate how it actually works in the real environment," Greg Spotts, the chief sustainability officer for the Cool Streets LA initiative, told CBS2.

The initiative, which also includes planting 90,000 trees, is expected to be rolled out in 10 neighborhoods by 2025.

"We know that climate change is not an abstract crisis, this is the fight of our lives," Garcetti told reporters Tuesday.

The initiative calls for using cool pavement material on 250 lane miles of city streets by the 2028 Olympics.

According to Spotts, there have been very few real world tests of cool pavement until now.

"The purpose of cool pavement isn't to make it cool if you're standing in the middle of the street," Spotts said. "The purpose is to improve the environment on sidewalks in your front yard, and in your dwelling. So we're going to be doing a lot of work to analyze its effects at different times of day and all those different places."

CBS News first reported on L.A.'s plan back in April 2018. At the time, the coating was said to be expensive, costing $40,000 per mile. It's unclear what kind of price tag the Cool Streets LA initiative will carry.

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