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Bill Clinton wrote a short piece about what he thinks is the "best way to jump start job creation". His answer? Painting roofs white.
"Look at the tar roofs covering millions of American buildings. They absorb huge amounts of heat when it's hot. And they require more air conditioning to cool the rooms. [...] Every black roof in New York should be white; every roof in Chicago should be white; every roof in Little Rock should be white. Every flat tar-surface roof anywhere! In most of these places you could recover the cost of the paint and the labor in a week. It's the quickest, cheapest thing you can do."
Considering that there's something like 20% unemployment in the construction sector and that even non-skilled people can learned to do this, it would certainly make sense and pay for itself with energy savings. Via The Atlantic. See also: Global CO2 Emissions Reach All Time High in 2010 After Recession Dip