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CBS: Paint Roofs and Roads White to Stop Global Warming

On Thursday's CBS Early Show, co-host Julie Chen teased an upcoming segment on a new way to combat global warming: "Up next, if you could do one thing to fight global warming, would you do it? How about painting your roof white? We'll explain." Fill-in co-host Chris Wragge later introduced the report: "Could painting your roof white be the best defense against global warming? Some very important people think so. So Early Show national correspondent Hattie Kauffman put that idea to the test."

Kauffman explained: "In any given city, most rooftops are black. And that's the problem. The darker the surface, the more heat it retains...the lighter the surface, the better it is for the environment." Kauffman talked to Bill Nye, 'The Science Guy,' who further explained: "The building doesn't get as hot so you don't need to run the air conditioner nearly as long."

Later, Kauffman cited Obama Energy Secretary Steven Chu: "[he] says if all rooftops and roads in the world were made white it could combat global warming." A clip was played of Chu claiming: "That would be the equivalent as if you took off all the automobiles of the world for eleven years." Kauffman added: "Think of it this way, every year you would keep out of the atmosphere 2.4 billion tons of carbon dioxide or the emissions produced by 60 million cars. There'd be even more savings if roads and parking lots were not covered in black asphalt." Nye declared that asphalt was: "...absorbing more heat...squandering billions of tons of carbon dioxide every year."

Wragge and fellow co-host Maggie Rodriguez acknowledged the humor in calling for all roofs and roads in the world to be painted white. Rodriguez remarked: "I hear Benjamin Moore is thrilled with the idea. Thinks it's phenomenal. We should definitely do it." Wragge added: "Home Depot's like, 'this is going to be great for us!'"

Here is the full transcript of the May 28 segment:

7:10AM TEASE:

CHRIS WRAGGE: Plus, we're going to tell you why white may be the new green when it comes to the color of your roof.

7:19AM TEASE:

JULIE CHEN: Up next, if you could do one thing to fight global warming, would you do it? How about painting your roof white? We'll explain.

7:22AM SEGMENT:

CHRIS WRAGGE: Could painting your roof white be the best defense against global warming? Some very important people think so. So Early Show national correspondent Hattie Kauffman put that idea to the test.

HATTIE KAUFFMAN: In any given city, most rooftops are black. And that's the problem. The darker the surface, the more heat it retains. So here we are, on the roof of CBS Television City. Bill Nye, 'The Science Guy,' used a meter to demonstrate the lighter the surface, the better it is for the environment.

BILL NYE: This goes up nearly to 50 over this silver surface.

KAUFFMAN: Okay.

NYE: Then if we - if we look at the other side of this -

KAUFFMAN: Black, which many rooftops are.

NYE: And streets, asphalt, then it goes down below 5.

KAUFFMAN: Whoa. Why does that matter?

NYE: The building doesn't get as hot so you don't need to run the air conditioner nearly as long. So if you do that-

KAUFFMAN: If it's white.

NYE: -everywhere. If it's light.

KAUFFMAN: Here's a shining example, the white-painted villages in Greece. Turns out they were ahead of their time. Energy Secretary Steven Chu says if all rooftops and roads in the world were made white it could combat global warming.

STEVEN CHU: That would be the equivalent as if you took off all the automobiles of the world for eleven years.

KAUFFMAN: Think of it this way, every year you would keep out of the atmosphere 2.4 billion tons of carbon dioxide or the emissions produced by 60 million cars. There'd be even more savings if roads and parking lots were not covered in black asphalt.

NYE: So the same needle says just 2 ½.

KAUFFMAN: Which means what?

NYE: Which means it's absorbing more heat, keeping the city warmer. It's squandering billions of tons of carbon dioxide every year.

KAUFFMAN: Hattie Kauffman, CBS News, Los Angeles.

WRAGGE: In theory, sounds like a great idea.

MAGGIE RODRIGUEZ: Yeah.

WRAGGE: You need a lot of white paint.

RODRIGUEZ: I hear Benjamin Moore is thrilled with the idea. Thinks it's phenomenal. We should definitely do it.

WRAGGE: Home Depot's like, 'this is going to be great for us!'

RODRIGUEZ: I know.

-Kyle Drennen is a news analyst at the Media Research Center.