Can White Roofs Really Reduce Global Warming?

Energy Secretary Steven Chu, among others, has urged Americans to paint their roofs white to reflect sunlight skyward, on the theory that this will help cool off cities and fight climate change. But Stanford University researchers have tried to quantify, for the first time, how much cities, or “heat islands,” actually contribute to global warming, and they’ve concluded that the well-intentioned practice of whitewashing the tops of buildings might do more harm than good.

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