Are black roofs accelerating climate change? There’s no question that the density of black roofs and the ubiquity of pavement in urban settings are the main contributors to the “heat island effect,” in which city temperatures are hotter than the surrounding rural areas. But just how big a difference would it make if all those black roofs were painted white?

A pretty big difference, according to a recent article in The Atlantic Cities.

Citing a study by Concordia University, the article suggests that if we were to paint a mere 1 percent of the white roofs or roads in the urban world (which in turn make up a mere 1.3 percent of the land area of the planet) we could reduce the amount of CO released into the atmosphere by as much as 130 billion tons over the next 50 to 100 years.

It looks like Philadelphia was onto something!

Credit: Atlantic Cities