June 2019 was the hottest June in Earth’s history. The heatwave obliterated the record for Europe’s hottest ever June, with temperatures consistently exceeding 30 °C in Luxembourg.
Qatar recently turned a busy stretch of road in the capital Doha bright blue as part of an experiment to cool the tarmac surface and combat effects of extreme heat. The public works authority explains the decision:
‘Instead of having a black road which absorbs the heat greatly you have a road which will reflect some of the heat away.’
Would this be a good idea for Luxembourg too? Over the past couple of years there has been a significant rise in temperatures, a development that confirms people’s worries about the impact of climate change. In Qatar, high temperatures can cause car dashboards to crack, paintwork to discolour and plastic trim to melt - encouraging authorities to look for innovative solutions. It may not be long until Europe faces similar issues.
Tarmac and cement absorb solar energy during the day and release it during the night, meaning cities are hotter than the surrounding countryside as buildings and streets act as a giant heat sink. This is certainly a good idea for the Middle East - but should Luxembourg be worrying about such things? While climate change is becoming more and more of an issue, should governments be prioritising blue roads? Let us know what you think in the poll below!