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Indeed, it is local communities that are taking the lead in implementing cool roof technology, and opportunities for that are practically limitless. Roofing and pavements (which are also typically dark colors) account for over 60 percent of urban surfaces. Roofs alone total about 20 percent to 25 percent. There are, literally, billions of square feet of dark-roofed surfaces in cities across the world, and white coatings are not difficult to find. It can take decades to scale hybrid cars or solar power; white roofs can scale quickly, as they require no new infrastructure aside from lots of white paint.The ease of implementing cool roofs – which often literally means nothing more than painting roofs white – is what makes the idea so powerful, and attractive to communities. This is, unsurprisingly, especially true of communities with warm and sunny climates.

California, to give one example, first required that new, flat roofs be painted white in 2005. The move was a no-brainer, according to Arthur Rosenfeld, author of the paper on global impacts change with Akbari and California Energy Commissioner when the rule came into force. ”Everybody said…we should be doing this,” he told me. Australia, too, has adopted solar reflectivity requirements – which, essentially, mandate cool roofs – in its most recent building code. How technology helped spur a quiet revolution in emergency aid.Regulations have, thus far, mostly covered new roofing only, but most roofs need to be replaced about every 20 years, according to Rosenfeld, so they’ll eventually have a big impact. Voluntary initiatives like New York City’s NYC Cool Roofs, or the White Roof Project, which encourages people to identify roofs to paint white across the US and looks for volunteers to paint them, are working to whiten roofs before they need replacing.
”Our main goal isn’t coating the roofs ourselves,” says Juan Carlos P.E., founder of White Roof Project.

If, indeed, this does happen everywhere, it will be as though 300 million cars have disappeared, at least in atmospheric terms. This is a great thing, though you’ll still be stuck in traffic.The views expressed in this article are solely those of Vincent Valk. For more, explore the Global Innovation Showcase created by the New America Foundation and the Global Public Square.The view from jihadi Internet forums is fascinating these days as al Qaeda members and supporters react to the loss of their leader. Until al Qaeda officially confirmed Osama bin Laden’s death on Friday, confusion dominated the forums, with participants sharply divided between those who embraced the news and those who denied it.