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Los Angeles paints its streets white to battle Climate Change

Los Angeles paints its streets white to battle Climate Change

The price for the white road topping and “green justice”is $40,000 per mile.

The only law that California’s politicians follow is the one involving unintended consequences.

Today’s example in progressive civil engineering comes from Los Angeles, where city officials have ordered streets to be painted white in an effort to combat climate change.

In the race to combat climate change, the city of Los Angeles is employing a surprising new tactic — covering its streets in a grayish-white coating known as CoolSeal. It’s sprayed onto the roadway with trucks, then spread across the surface with squeegees. However, its impact extends far beyond the edge of the pavement.

Los Angeles, like so many other modern cities, is encased in thousands of miles of asphalt. And dark-colored asphalt absorbs between 80 and 95 percent of the sun’s rays, heating up not just the streets themselves but the entire surrounding area. So when temperatures in Southern California rise above 100 degrees Fahrenheit, surface temperatures on its asphalt roads can climb to 150. It exacerbates a phenomenon known as the “urban heat island effect,” which the EPA says can add up to 22 degrees Fahrenheit to the average air temperature in a city, compared to the surrounding area.

The approach is based on the work of some researchers that ran some calculations in 2008 and came up with the conclusion that by having white roofs and streets, the Los Angeles area could reduce its heat footprint.

Last week, researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and UC Berkeley presented their study at California’s annual Climate Change Research Conference in Sacramento.

If the 100 largest cities in the world replaced their dark roofs with white shingles and their asphalt-based roads with concrete or other light-colored material, it could offset 44 metric gigatons (billion tons) of greenhouse gases, the study shows. That amounts to more greenhouse gas than the entire human population emits in one year, according to a recent article in the Los Angeles Times. The strategy could also offset the growth in carbon dioxide emissions, which account for about 75% of greenhouse gases, for the next 10 years.

… In 2009, the state will require that new and retrofitted residential and commercial, with both flat and sloped roofs, be installed with heat-reflective roofing. The requirements are part of California´s energy-efficient building code.

Globally, roofs account for about 25% of the surface of most cities, and pavement accounts for about 35%. Even without cutting industrial pollution from current levels, installing white roofs and pavements could offset more than 10 years of emissions growth, according to the conference data.

Since 2009, and the implementation of the white roof mandate, here is what the annual mean temperatures have looked like (see red circle).

The price for the white road topping is $40,000 per mile. Los Angeles has 6,500 miles of street; therefore, it will cost $260 million to coat all the streets in the quest to stop global warming.

Clearly, there seems to be little “bang for the buck”. In fact, a conducted by Arizona State University and entitled “Unintended Consequences“, is skeptical of the claims being made and assert that “a change in surface temperature has only limited effects on the overlying air layers such that overall benefits of reflective pavements and roofs can be less than expected.”

Another unintended consequence is something that Legal Insurrection fans in other locations may have experience with: White surface glare and its impact on the eyes.

Winter or summer, hours of bright sunlight can burn the surface of the eye, causing a temporary but painful condition known as photokeratitis. Over time, unprotected exposure can contribute to cataracts, as well as cancer of the eyelids and the skin around the eyes.

UV exposure also may increase the risk of macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in people over age 65. While cataracts can be removed surgically, there is no way to reverse damage to the macula, the area in the center of the retina.

Meanwhile, Los Angeles officials are still failing to address the exploding homeless population, which is the real health crisis. The unintended consequence of ignoring this human disaster may be another disease outbreak, such as Hepatitis A, that will be spread across the country.

On the upside, at least LA streets are not paved in shit, like those of another California city. At least, not yet.


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LOL imagine doing that here in Maine. would exponentially increase salting tonnage.

White privilege!

It would be interesting to find out more about the company that makes this “CoolSeal” product. Odds are owners or management have greased several L.A. Dumb-o-crats’ palms with silver, in order to win this contract. All in the public guise of fighting “climate change,” of course.

Whenever there is some alleged “green” or “environmental” “solution” proffered to some alleged “problem,” count on it that some well-connected Dumb-o-crat donors and/or cronies are profiting from the situation.

    Mike H. in reply to guyjones. | April 11, 2018 at 5:01 pm

    Coolseal is a product that was developed for mobile homes to fight heat buildup and rain leaks. It had to be replaced once every two years for effective use.

      Seems like this could be a contract ad infinitum for the coolseal company, but I am certain we could not expect (sarc) the kickbacks to pols to exist with this cash cow.

    elle in reply to guyjones. | April 11, 2018 at 5:23 pm

    yep. It’s easier to understand CA if you understand that it is as corrupt as Chicago, NY or New Orleans. Life used to be good in the land of surf and jobs a’plenty, so everyone had the luxury of giving lip service to lala land and the joys of creative dysfunction. With no real consequences, it was easy to feel magnanimous toward their fellow man and sniff at the inland rubes who were not benefiting from the cheap servant labor that inflated their living conditions.

    The bill is coming due, but the surf’s up, so who cares?

I have a neighbor here in AZ who painted his driveway white.

Every year he has to re-paint it, because it gets blackened from the tire marks from his car. His one car.

Imagine thousands of cars on California’s white roads, every day.

But hey, it’s not as if California has any shortage of money, right? They can easily afford to waste money on stupid, pointless, virtue-signalling nonsense like this.

buckeyeminuteman | April 11, 2018 at 3:20 pm

I understand that the white road may make the air temperature above it feel cooler. But big mama sun doesn’t care about your white roads. The sun is still going to shine on planet earth. I predict teens and others with a predilection for dereliction will soon have these roads covered in burnouts and skid marks within weeks.

American Human | April 11, 2018 at 3:38 pm

Wasn’t California going to ban the sale of cars painted black too?

How do they propose keeping those streets white? Outlawing vehicles with rubber tires and pedestrians without non-marking soles on their shoes? This is the silly kind of stuff that make the rest of the country smile when they hear Californians talk about secession.

Is there a problem with the homeless exploding? I had not heard about this, but I am sure it creates a bio-hazard. Yuck!

A 7-year lifespan? I assume the paint wears off during those 7 years…in other words goes into the air or sea. In a town where people are worried about asthma caused by particulates in the air, and in a town with a strong emphasis on environmental pollution and waste reduction, isn’t this just adding to the problem?

    MajorWood in reply to Ann in L.A.. | April 11, 2018 at 5:04 pm

    The company that does this will have moved all of their assets to the Caymans long before the 7 years is up. One would be better off with a guarantee from Toys R Us.

    And the $40K/mi is way way less than the $1.49B that Portland just spent to put in 7.3mi of light rail, which normally only runs $100M/mi, but they needed a special bridge this time.

    And you know the taggers are just out in the streets celebrating, literally

    forksdad in reply to Ann in L.A.. | April 11, 2018 at 6:30 pm

    They better move their assets. The feds tried a new coating to prevent the road oil from draining into the water system. Even though it was used on a very short experimental section it lead to accidents, deaths, and a very, very slick road surface. They eventually had to gouge it down to the bare macadam and leave the grooves in until it wore down. Took a couple decades.

    I hope this doesn’t lead to more accidents and deaths.

      Count on it. Darn unintended consequences.

        Mike H. in reply to doug. | April 12, 2018 at 8:07 pm

        Another unintended consequence is the solar heat reflected up into the cars that travel on the road. There probably will be an increase in automobile fires as the project nears completion (going from one white painted surface to another).

        If the older cars are having issues with the air conditioning there could be instances of heat stroke while driving.

The strategy could also offset the growth in carbon dioxide emissions, which account for about 75% of greenhouse gases

Absolute unadulterated hogwash. By far the largest contributor to “greenhouse effect” is water vapor. And even that doesn’t approach 75%.

We already know this, but it’s worth emphasizing as more evidence accumulates; Liberals don’t do science.

    Shane in reply to tom_swift. | April 11, 2018 at 4:54 pm

    And anyone that lives in the South (or has actually taken Science classes in non-progressive places) would know why water vapor is a HUGE greenhouse gas and why the idiots in CA have failed in their endeavor.

    navyvet in reply to tom_swift. | April 11, 2018 at 6:47 pm

    Just need to dye the ocean white. I’m sure the marine life won’t mind.

      Paul In Sweden in reply to navyvet. | April 11, 2018 at 7:56 pm

      Years ago I read a Global Warming Alarmist solution that was tossed around. In order to cool the ocean instead of white dye/paint it was suggested the use of something akin to white ping-pong ball floats might be utilized to increase the ocean’s albedo.

        rabidfox in reply to Paul In Sweden. | April 11, 2018 at 8:41 pm

        Billion and billions of ping pong balls.

        Arminius in reply to Paul In Sweden. | April 11, 2018 at 8:51 pm

        Yes! There’s a brand of environmentalism I can get behind. Let’s spill millions of tons of non-biodegradable plastic into the ocean.

        I can only think of one way to improve upon this idea. Instead of ping pong balls we’ll use fishing floats. With all the lines and hooks that usually implies.

        Paul In Sweden in reply to Paul In Sweden. | April 12, 2018 at 6:46 am

        I am not sure if the study mentioned within this paper is the one I was recalling but to show you how crazy these Global Warming Activist Rent Seekers really are you can see the idea of floating balls in the Ocean to solve a non-problem is considered as plausable and cited in other papers.

        THESE PEOPLE ARE NUTS. Although Arminius here on this LE thread expressed concern about putting non-biodegradable plastic balls into the ocean this study sugests that the other study was considering glass balls… This to me is little solace as the idea itself is ludicrous.


        AGU PUBLICATIONS – Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans
        RESEARCH ARTICLE 10.1002/2015JC011433
        Assessing climate impacts and risks of ocean albedo modification in the Arctic

        N. Mengis1, T. Martin1, D. P. Keller1, and A. Oschlies1,, 2 Kiel University, Kiel, Germany

        [ Page 2 of 14 ]

        Suggestion on possible implementation schemes for an artificial surface albedo modification include the use of oceanic foams [ Evans et al., 2010], microbubbles [Seitz, 2011] in combination with surfactants [Crooket al., 2016], or floating glass spheres [Gordon and Walter, 2011]. However, a detailed discussion of the technical aspects of deployment is beyond the scope of this paper. We focus on modeling potential consequences of an assumed successful implementation, using an ocean-sea ice model coupled to a simple atmospheric model and a global carbon cycle model, in order to investigate an idealized albedo modification over the Arctic Ocean surface.

It will contrast the feces wonderfully! Not that it will be cleaned up.

    Paul In Sweden in reply to gbear. | April 12, 2018 at 6:55 am

    The Global Warming Alarmists are all hot and bothered about Cow Farts and want to ram pipes outfitted with gas bags into the rear ends of cows so I was wondering if this solution of theirs could be modified to the unique urban environmental problems faced in the streets of LA, SF and other bastions of The Leftist Elite?

DieJustAsHappy | April 11, 2018 at 4:27 pm

I would thing driving on them for very long, without eye protection, would be harmful on the eyes.

So now the radiation will be reflected back into the environment instead of being absorbed into the ground? How will that make the atmosphere cooler?

There is a law … Conservation of Energy.

But I guess they don’t teach the white patriarchy in schools in CA.

And I am SURE they have done appropriate friction studies in all types of weather to ensure the cars are able to brake properly when it the roads become wet (or even dirty from the traffic).
Yeah, sure they did.

    kaf in reply to Ward B.. | April 11, 2018 at 6:30 pm

    I predict a friction coefficient just shy of a skating rink. It’s going to be glorious.

      Hilarious entertainment, watching the cars go “round and round” Better than bumper cars because of increased speed

    amatuerwrangler in reply to Ward B.. | April 11, 2018 at 7:10 pm

    If you have ever had the experience of driving over a painted x-walk line (or similar) on a rainy day, you learn that they are very slick, especially if you are turning… Now the entire roadway can be that stimulating. I’m thinking a drag factor of 0.4 or less.

    And speaking of lines, what color will they be making the lane markings, crosswalks, etc on these roads? I’m thinking the contrast between the white surface and the traditional yellow ones will be a problem, and white lines… invisible.

Alan McIntire | April 11, 2018 at 5:23 pm

I’m reminded of the “Alice in Wonderland” scene where the spade gardeners are painting the roses red.

Unintended consequences? What do people, especially children, do with a white board? That’s right they draw on it. So, LA streets will be nothing more that giant graffiti boards bearing gang symbols and pornographic images. Then they have to be repainted. $260 million PER YEAR. Gotta love it.

Hey Cali!!!!
I have a plan to help ease your warming….

Every Cal resident gets a small, hand held, battery operated fan…

Then everyone will hold their fan skyward and blow the heat away!

AND….I will sell you Cali folks the fans for the low, low price of….
Sixty thousand dollars each!!!!!

I am eagerly awaiting your call Gov Moonbeam, Thanks!

    audax in reply to tgrondo. | April 12, 2018 at 5:11 am

    …..will that include at least one set of batteries…..or will you let me offer those at only $20,000 each???

      First of all, let me say…I like your thinking and I’m prepared to offer you a position of…Special Project Manager!

      Welcome Aboard!

“The price for the white road topping is $40,000 per mile. Los Angeles has 6,500 miles of street; therefore, it will cost $260 million to coat all the streets in the quest to stop global warming.

Clearly, there seems to be little “bang for the buck”.”

Studies show that virgin sacrifice is more cost effective. But, come on, this is L.A. Where are you going to get the virgins?

Painting the streets white was their second choice.

It’s actually not a bad idea, considering how hot black-top streets get in summer.

But blinding white? Why not gray?

Then again, it beats pink.

They are trying to avert illegals coming to the US on rumors that the roads are paved with gold.

Have mirrors cover all roof tops.

“If the 100 largest cities in the world replaced their dark roofs with white shingles and their asphalt-based roads with concrete”

Using light-colored asphalt shingles probably makes sense if you live in a hot climate, assuming you need to replace or build the roof anyway. They cost about the same as dark ones, and might last longer due to less degradation due to heat.

BUT, concrete roads cost significantly more than asphalt ones (although they also last longer). Then again, concrete consists of aggregate plus cement, and lime remains an essential ingredient in cement, and making it (by reducing limestone) requires a great deal of heat and releases carbon dioxide:

CaCO3 -> CaO + CO2

And, yes, if the roadway gets hotter during the day it will radiate away more heat at night. It’s still a net gain as not al the excess heat radiates away, but, one womders if the politiciams took this into account (instead of just listing to CoolSeal’s sales pitch)? For an “honest sales rep” is one who tells the truth, but, that’s not necessarily the whole truth.

    Geologist in reply to Albigensian. | April 11, 2018 at 7:39 pm

    “lime remains an essential ingredient in cement.” Oh, no, this will lead to a lime shortage. Will that cause people limit their consumption of tequila and Corona? Will that hurt the Mexican economy?

    This is racist, anti-Mexican policy. It must be President Trump’s secret plan!

    pilgrim1949 in reply to Albigensian. | April 12, 2018 at 12:37 pm

    About 20-25 years ago some folks posited that painting roofs white would do the same.

    Since then, studies on both side of the issue have claimed that it does help (% widely varies) or it doesn’t really make and statistical difference.

    No problem, though.

    We must DO SOMETHING — ANYTHING!! — no matter the cost or whether or not it really works.

    At least it gives the appearance of taking some action and the proponents thereof can return to their Bigfoot carbon footprint houses in their equally energy-efficient limos or private jets, FEEEEELING really good about themselves.

    That’s what seems to matter most.

I tend to doubt it will remain on the roads 7 years. While my area is a little tough on roads due to the weather, we still need to renew any paint, such as the lines on the roads, every 2-3 years or they become so faded you can’t see them. And that isn’t from being driven over continually, sun and rain and traffic will have drive marks showing in months and a decent portion of the paint will be useless after a couple years.

Then there will be the added attraction of increased accidents due to glare, increased eye and vision problems. But, I am sure they thought this through and know all will be well in the Golden State… SMH.

Nice to see that Los Angeles has solved all the major problems – crime, homelessness, illegal immigrants – and now has the funds to expend on this white elephant.

This is not as stupid as it sounds at first. While it will do zero about global climate change, it does make the pavement a lot less hot, which makes the street and surrounding area noticeably less miserable on hot days, reflective pavement will also last longer, because the asphalt is baked less. When you look at road paving costs, 40 K per mile is nothing.
This would be great in places like New York City, which get hot humid and miserable during the summer.

OK I see that this is a surface coating. That’s not the smartest idea for an area like Los Angeles that doesn’t have a frost problem.
They’d be better off using concrete with a little reflective element mixed into it. Maybe the pavement paint company is a campaign donor.
LA really isn’t the ideal place for this, it’s not hot and miserable there. Someplace where it does get unbearable in the summer is a good candidate for this kind of thing.

So we have an expensive road treatment that will get marked up by taggers, create an unsafe slick surface in the rain, peel off in strips and chunks to provide an environmental hazard, requires frequent replacement, and has been mandated by environmental idiots.

The first driver’s car that slides out of control because of this crap better sue the snot out of the government.

And to think I always thought “asphalt” was a congenital rectal problem.

I wonder how many driving accidents they’re going to have on that slick paint when it rains?

When it gets wet is it a “Slip & Slide”?

About 20 cents per square foot.

Energy can be neither created nor destroyed only changed in form. Where or in what form is it changed?? The black top absorbs heat in the day and releases to the atmosphere it at night.

    A black surface absorbs visible light during the day, causing it to heat, which then reradiates the energy as infrared, warming the local area as the atmosphere is largely opaque to infrared.

    If the surface is white, much of the visible light will be reflected back into space because the atmosphere is largely transparent to visible light.

      clayusmcret in reply to Zachriel. | April 13, 2018 at 6:49 am

      Instead of being absorbed, it will be reflected into everything else around it that does absorb heat.