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Texas nationalizes the atmosphere

Soylent Green Jr has linked to an article at Grist with news that seem rather incredible.

Cowboy of Teplice City, a 1995 song by Mr Kamil Střihavka (CZ) that happens to describe the health of a Texas district judge, too.

A group of children (run by adults who aren't ashamed of using children as shields, of course) has filed a lawsuit claiming that the atmosphere is a "public trust". What could a stupid district court judge do with it?

Of course, the stupid district court judge Ms Gisela Triana agreed – for the first time in the history – that the atmosphere is a subject to the "public trust doctrine" which was invented to force a government to protect the natural resources belonging to the people led by this government.

Now, the atmosphere is a natural resource.

The only "tiny problem" with this proclamation is that the atmosphere can't belong to Texas. Within a day, the winds "export" most of the air that was located above Texas to other states (or to the volume above the oceans).

On top of that, there is diffusion which is much faster. When you donate a million of tons of Nature's most vital nutrient, carbon dioxide, to the atmosphere in Denver, this amount of gas will be distributed almost uniformly over the whole surface of the Earth within weeks or earlier.

One can't have laws that force the Texas or U.S. federal officials to "control and preserve the atmosphere" above their lands because this goal is totally beyond their abilities. It is as impossible to realize as preserving a beautiful sunset for 12 more hours.

Children and stupid adults, you will really have to become the world dictators and establish the world government before it will make sense to talk about the "public trust doctrine applied to the atmosphere". Be sure that once the threat that you want to overtake the world will become credible, you will become desirable targets of assassinations.

But even if you managed to win the war for a world government, such a world government will still be unable to change the composition of the atmosphere in a way that significantly deviates from predictions arising from natural processes and man-made contributions tightly linked to the people's prosperity. The reason is that winds and diffusion are not the only two foes of yours. There are lots of other laws of physics you need to violate in order to realize your pathological dreams and it won't be easy.

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snail feedback (17) :

reader Luke Lea said...

Couldn't you spray paint the air above Texas to aid in tracking it?

reader Luboš Motl said...


reader papertiger0 said...

Seasonal variability detected in the "ozone hole" on Titan (ping pongs between the north and south poles).

reader Luboš Motl said...

Congrats to your nickname, papertiger! ;-)

reader papertiger0 said...


So that was the last one. All of the planets and moons with an appreciable atmosphere exhibit the same ozone hole analog, but only on Earth it is deemed unnatural.

reader papertiger0 said...

Pretty sure it was Obama. The guy logged into DISQUS, and commandeered "papertiger" forcing me to add an 0.

reader LC Aggie Sith said...

I left an additional link over at SG's site. Not surprised she ruled this way, since she is a democrat.

reader Ann said...

The self-righteous stupidity of these people is truly amazing. But, I guess by now I just shouldn't be surprised by these Eeek!ologists.

reader papertiger0 said...

Take my love, take my land
Take me where I cannot stand
I don't care, I'm still free
You can't take the sky from me.

Take me out to the black
Tell them I ain't comin' back
Burn the land and boil the sea
You can't take the sky from me.

There's no place I can be
Since I've found Serenity

You can't take the sky from me.

These lawyers are going to the special kind of hell, the one they reserve for child molestors, and people who talk in the theater.

reader jim z said...

Very well expressed, Lubos! The defense of liberty is the defense of humanity. Thank you.

reader papertiger0 said...

Hey. How about Anthony, picking up my signal. To be fair, he probably picked up on Instapundit's signal.

reader the guy from rhinoceros said...

point of this fantastic, like so much else of Gummint activity, is not
to actually accomplish anything, but to spend more public money.

Why do non-cwazy peeple think that managing the atmosphere over Texas
could be so difficult anyway? I see far, far, more fantastic things
accomplished easily every week on Star Trek...

Even King Canute was more reasonable.

Ah, what Caligula accomplished with the waves, Judge Triana will accomplish with the atmosphere.

reader the guy from rhinoceros said...

Just took a peek at comments at the original post on Grist. There are five, presumably from legally adult peeple. I was going to leave a remark, but changed my mind. I'm uneasy about being seen in the company of those who apparently live on Sesame Street, if not in Jean-Jacques Rousseau's mind.

BTW, Lubos, you might 'enjoy' this other entry from Grist:

North Carolina tries to outlaw sea-level rise:

Speak of King Canute!

reader papertiger0 said...

Few things I learn from wikipedia ~~~

Titan's surface temperature is about 94 K (−179 °C, or −290 °F). The atmosphere of Titan is largely

composed of nitrogen 95% (N2), and methane 4.9% (CH4); minor components, playing the role of aerosol, lead

to the formation of methane and ethane clouds and nitrogen-rich organic smog. This atmospheric methane,

being the analog of water vapor here on Earth (raining out, principle component of clouds, pooling into

lakes of liquid methane around the poles), creates a greenhouse effect on Titan's surface, without

which Titan would be far colder.
( I should hope so. They're always telling us that methane is 25

times more powerful a greenhouse gas than co2. The GWP of water vapor is 0.23 times that of co2, so you have to multiply by 4.35 to get the direct comparison with Earth's greenhouse. When you do the math Titan has a whopping 108.69 times the greenhouse effect we have on Earth. ~~~JM)

Here's a problem. Hyperion, another of Saturn's moons, this one airless, has about the same average surface temperature as Titan, 93 K (-180 °C; -300 °F).

Wikipedia "solves" this problem by saying;

The haze in Titan's atmosphere contributes to the moon's anti-greenhouse effect by reflecting sunlight back into space, making its surface significantly colder than its upper atmosphere.

Forget for a minute the part where without the haze Titan would be much colder, Wikipedia claims the haze blocks out the sunlight, perfectly offseting "the 109 X Earth" greenhouse effect, so that the temperature is very close to the same for Titan as if it had no atmosphere at all, like Hyperion.

Another problem. The amount of sunlight that is reflected away by Titan's methane clouds is very close to the same amount reflected away by Hyperion's surface. Both Hyperion and Titan have roughly the same albedo;
between .2 and .3 for Hyperion, and .22 for Titan. Titan is relatively dark. It sucks up 78% of the sunlight it receives.

reader papertiger0 said...

anti-greenhouse effect

What in the heck is that? Here's a talk about the anti-greenhouse effect from Christopher McKay, planetary scientist with the Space Science Division of NASA Ames Research Center.

Titan: Greenhouse and Anti-greenhouse

Basically, what he says is that a smoggy haze of Methane clouds blocks incoming sunlight. Sounds to me like an unequivocal assertion of the negative feedback of clouds as a fact.

But that's not what the warmists say to Richard Lindzen when he brings up clouds.

Michael Mann and Gavin Schmidt both say shame on Richard Lindzen who "never met a negative feedback he didn’t like."
In point of fact, the warmists say the exact opposite, they assert that high level clouds or haze "tend to cause a warming effect by trapping heat."

let's refresh.
Hyperion moon of Saturn, with gravity so low that it can not even compress into a spherical shape, hopelessly free of atmosphere, zero greenhouse effect, at the same distance from the sun, with the same bond albedo, has the same surface temperature 93 K (−180 C) as the supposedly greenhouse swamped Titan.

Am I missing anything about what's wrong with this picture?

reader frankyburns said...

So it doesn't belong to all of us? So you can just pollute it, and watch as your pollution wafts toward your neighbor? Great thinking. You are a mastermind.

reader Luboš Motl said...

Dear Franky, the atmosphere cannot belong to any isolated group - like the state of Texas. Within hours, most of the air in Texas is moved out of the state, and vice versa.

One may sue a person who causes a damage to someone else by pollution in the air but one can't do it by referring to its shared ownership of the atmosphere because it's not possible to "own" the atmosphere.

And CO2 is not a pollution in any sense of the word.