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PARIS — Scientists sketched a vision on Friday of converting the world’s cities into giant sunlight reflectors to help fight global warming but met with scepticism from fellow academics.
Gradually replacing traditional urban roofs and roads with white or lighter-coloured materials would yield a cooling benefit that, over 50 years, would be the equivalent of a reduction of between 25 and 150 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2), researchers in Canada said.
At the top end of the scale, this equals the emissions of all the world’s cars over the same period, their study published in Britain’s Institute of Physics’ journal Environmental Research Letters stated.
But only 0.05 to one percent of the world’s land surface would be covered, which meant it would lack effectiveness on a global scale, the prestigious academy said.
And it estimated the cost at “about $300 billion a year, making this one of the least effective and most expensive methods considered.”