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This 'Snow Leopard' could make a HUGE impact

Last summer, Joe and I went to our old skate park in Parkdale.  

It was 7pm, so the sun was hidden behind buildings and trees.

And yet, when I sat down on one of the concrete stunts to shoot some video I almost burned my butt off.  I was shocked at how hot it was because the sun hadn't been shining here for hours....

Apparently this is a big contributor to climate change.

It's called the urban heat island effect because concrete and other building materials trap more heat than woodlands, water and plants.

And this is where the Atlantic Council discovered a snow leopard or underappreciated opportunity, named after the well camouflaged mountain cat.

And what is the snow leopard that's going to help curb the heat island effect?

White paint.

But not just any white paint, the whitest paint in the history of white paints (it's actually in the Guiness Book of World Records) and it works on the principals of physics to reflect the heat back into space.

It was developed by Xiulin Ruan, a professor of mechanical engineering at Purdue University and

"the paint’s properties are almost superheroic. It can make surfaces as much as eight degrees Fahrenheit cooler than ambient air temperatures at midday, and up to 19 degrees cooler at night, reducing temperatures inside buildings and decreasing air-conditioning needs by as much as 40 percent.

If materials such as Ruan's ultra-white paint were to coat between 1 percent and 2 percent of the Earth’s surface, slightly more than half the size of the Sahara, the planet would no longer absorb more heat than it was emitting, and global temperatures would stop rising."  (The New York Times)

Of course there are going to be downsides - there are always downsides to mass market solutions - and it shouldn't stop us from reducing fossil fuel emissions, but it's an IMMEDIATE action that we could start implementing today.

Isn't Science awesome?

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