paints mountains white to combat climate change
October 25 – In the Peruvian Andes Glaciers have been shrinking over the past thirty years, and all of Peru”™s mountaintop glaciers could disappear by the year 2030, according to the World Bank. In response, Peruvian activist-inventor Eduardo Gold suggested that painting the mountain tops white could simulate the reflective qualities of mountaintop glaciers and help slow the warming effect that ice-free mountain tops may have on the surrounding environment. Gold also submitted his idea to the “œ100 ideas to save the world” competition and won. As a result, a team of four painters are being fund with Â£135,000 by the World Bank to paint the barren peaks of three mountains in hope of slowing down the melting of nearby glaciers. As Gold describes, “œA white surface reflects the sun’s rays back through the atmosphere and into space, in doing so it cools the area around it too,” in effect creating a “œmicro-climate.” While scientifically plausible, Peru’s Environment Minister Antonio Brack has opined that the funds could be better spent on other climate adaptation projects.
By painting the mountains, Eduardo Gold hopes to replicate the effect of Andean glaciers, which reflect back sunlight and hence heat back through the atmosphere.
The technique is scientifically plausible and, according to some scientists, may be the only method of lowering global temperatures in a crisis.
“A white surface reflects the sun’s rays back through the atmosphere and into space, in doing so it cools the area around it too,” said the 55-year-old activist. “In effect in creates a micro-climate, so we can say that the cold generates more cold, just as heat generates more heat.”
It is hoped the project will slow the melting of the glaciers.
Four workmen have been given the task of painting three peaks, starting with Peru’s Chalon Sombrero peak, which lies 4,756 metres above sea level.