and the Washington Post gets the story (almost) right.
The Post’s front-page article opens with the aggressive program of the Sacramento Municipal Utility District to plant millions of trees, noting:
Perhaps the most arresting feature of Sacramento’s shade crusade is its rarity, despite federal research showing that carefully planted trees can lower summertime temperatures in cities, significantly reduce air-conditioning bills and trap greenhouse gases responsible for global warming.
You might think that an article by the politically-minded Post would then note that we had a federal program to work with communities to cool them down, called “Cool Communities.” It was gutted by the Gingrich Congress because it was part of the Clinton administration’s plan to reduce global warming emissions. The Post instead wanders off into interviewing a social scientist to explain the “cultural reasons” there has not been a “rush to exploit shade.”
Significantly, a program to cool cities with shade trees (and light-colored roofs) is not only a low-cost way to mitigate global warming, it is a very cost-effective way to adapt to global warming, since it lowers urban temperatures. But the conservatives who support adaptation as a strategy for dealing with global warming only do so rhetorically, in order to fight off efforts to change our energy policy to reduce emissions. If they really believed in adaptation, we would have a major federal “Cool Communities” effort.
Until sanity returns to our politcal culture, you can learn everything you need to know about cooling cities at the terrific web site of the Heat Island Group at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, which includes a number of useful publications, including an article from Technology Review, “Painting the Town White — and Green.“