Term coined by Gregory Benford for an ingenious method of cooling the planet.

Albedo is an index of how much incoming radiant energy a planet reflects, which has a pronounced effect on the planet's surface temperature: the more reflection, the cooler. Earth's albedo is about 0.19, which means it reflects about a fifth of its incoming solar radiation back out into space.

One way to cool a planet is to reduce the amount of heat produced on it; another is to increase its albedo and reflect more incoming energy back into space.

Benford's idea was that, since persuading people to use less energy with their SUVs and air conditioners is so difficult, perhaps they could be persuaded to wear white clothing and big floppy white hats. If enough people did this (hence the necessity of making it fashionable) the Earth's albedo would be raised and the planet thereby cooled.

...mitigation does not have to push a new camel's nose into our tents. Technical solutions can play out far from people's lives, on the sea or high in the air. Better, widespread acceptance of mitigation strategies could lead to an albedo chic--ostentatious flaunting of white roofs, the Mediterranean look, silvered cars, the return of the ice-cream suit in fashion circles. White could be appropriate after Labor Day again.


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