Conservation may be a sign of personal virtue but it is not a sufficient basis for a sound, comprehensive energy policy April 30, 2001
Snow and cold feed each other in a kind of a loop. White surfaces reflect heat back into space making the ground cooler and cold weather attracts more snow to reflect more heat. That’s why white roofs make sense. I posted about this earlier and it has me remembering that we weren’t always so blind to the world we live in.
Take the white roofs: there was a time when this was part of a vibrant national conversation about the environment; hell, there was a time when there was a conversation. In the seventies Nixon created the EPA, congress started looking at global warming and peak oil, Earth Day was born, we banned CFC’s to protect the ozone layer, Detroit discovered MPG mattered, people faced up to the effects of pollution and did something about it. Carter came into office and put energy efficiency and research into alternative fuels front and center. Things began happening.
And then Ronald Reagan came into office, ripped the solar panels off the roof of the White House and it was Morning in America.
There’s really no reason not to return to this conversation right now and there’s no reason not to start acting again. When I wonder whatever happened to our good sense, I’m reminded of the quote above.
That was our very own once-upon-a-time Vice President, Dick Cheney, a few months before that attack which had nothing to do with how much middle eastern oil we waste so WalMart can keep their parking lots all lit up all the time. And he said it with utter scorn. He’s always liked war better. Like Afghanistan, where it is the 292nd day of the ninth year of the war.
UPDATE: Here’s a link to an article at Popular Science. They’ve got some statistical candy.
Back in the 70’s, when the ‘greenhouse effect’ was big news, some 12-year old kid somewhere in America came up with the idea of painting all the black roofs white. Since white is reflective instead of absorptive, doing so would have an actual effect on the temperatures at ground level. Brilliant.
Atrios: “It would be good stimulus, good for climate change, good for energy costs, good for a whole bunch of stuff. I suppose that’s why it isn’t happening.”
Maybe the arabs always knew that. I’d like to show you this picture from Yemen, but it seems you need to go the NY Times to actually see it. I wonder if they always did this or were listening to that 12-year old.
Would sure put a lot of people to work. And we could offer tax cuts and rebates, just like Carter did in the ’70’s when he got us to get energy audits and wrap our hot water heaters. It made a huge difference. (That was the beginning of the Energy Star system with appliances.)
I’m a big fan of anything that will cut our obsense energy use, especially on this 287th day of the ninth year of the war in Afghanistan.