Sunday, June 14, 2009

Counting Global Warming hysteria

A couple weeks ago, the new Secretary of Energy proposed that we paint our roofs and roads white, all as part of the struggle against global warming. White reflects light back into outer space better than dark, you see. Less light, less warming. Clever, right?

Well, hold on a second. How much does this reduce the amount of energy absorbed? I didn't hear this in the News reports. You'd think that if this is coming from the Secretary of Energy himself, it's be a lot, right? I mean, he wouldn't just be wasting everyone's time, right?

Err, no. Seems like someone actually calculated the number:
We'll knock it down to 40% for the first set of factors and then cut that by half for the long-wave radiation, leaving us with 29.2% of the surface times 2% targeted times a 40% adjustment divided by 2, leaving us with 0.01% of the Earth's albedo changed.
OK, not so much. But paint is cheap, right? Well, we'll need a lot of paint:
How much painting? Well, after just buying 7 gallons of paint for work around the home, one can get about 50 square meters of coverage per gallon of paint. The semi-gloss, high quality paint I just purchased was almost $30 for a gallon. Let's say that [Energy Secretary] Chu and POTUS Obama actually give taxpayers a break to encourage this and the special albedo painting prices is $15 per gallon. But to ensure good coverage, we need to apply two coats. Doing the math, we're left with 119.15 Million gallons of paint required at a cost of $1.787 Trillion per application.
The good news is that it should last at least 5 years before we have to do it again. A trillion bucks to reduce Mother Gaia's albedo (how much it absorbs energy) by 0.01%.

A trillion here, and a trillion there, and pretty soon you're spending real money.

From the Gormogons, who are not only all scientific-like, but have a sense of humor, too:
About Us
A secret society dedicated to the restoration of the Kingdom of Poland-Lithuania, the imprisonment of Esperanto speakers, and furthering the eschatological doctrine of the Return from Occultation of the Thirteenth Imam, Val Kilmer. Seriously, what happened to that guy? He was awesome in Tombstone.


EDGE said...

I get to ride around in one of those enviro-friendly cars on campus for a video shoot next week. People really have bought into the crap machine.

ASM826 said...

I'm your huckleberry.

Chas S. Clifton said...

Although its direct effect on climate might be negligible, a white roof would keep your building a bit cooler, and there is something to be said for that.