California Gov. Jerry Brown announced Friday night at the end of a climate summit that the Golden State will launch a satellite into space at some point to monitor the scope of man-made global warming.
Brown has long had to live down the nickname “Moonbeam” after he pushed in the 1970s for California to occupy space. The Democratic governor is now accepting the moniker and pressing forward on a plan to send satellites into orbit to track pollutants.
“With science still under attack and the climate threat growing, we’re launching our own damn satellite,” Brown said in prepared remarks. “This groundbreaking initiative will help governments, businesses and landowners pinpoint — and stop — destructive emissions with unprecedented precision, on a scale that’s never been done before.”
Friday’s Global Climate Action Summit — and President Donald Trump’s nearly two year-long mission to drastically cut Obama-era environmental regulations – likely the rejuvenated Brown’s desire to catapult California to space. (RELATED: Gov. Jerry Brown Prepares For International Climate Summit)
California will kickstart the mission with of San Francisco-based Earth-imaging firm Planet Labs, a company founded in 2010. The California Air Resources Board is in the process of developing the technology required to arm the satellite. The process is expected to take several years.
Regulators hope the satellite can pinpoint the sources of climate pollutants, ultimately allowing them to more fine-tune regulations needed to mitigation global warming. Data would be made available to the public through a partnership with the Environmental Defense Fund, an environmental group that finances activist campaigns.
Brown’s Global Climate Action Summit, meanwhile, drew thousands of delegates from around the world to discuss possible solutions to climate change. The summit also attracted throngs of protesters who believe the outgoing governor has not done enough to champion environmental causes.
Chanting “tell Brown to keep it in the ground,” several thousand protesters rallied on Thursday, hitting the governor for allowing more than 20,000 drilling operations to take place during his tenure. Critics also claimed the state’s cap-and-trade emissions systems are too generous to fossil fuel polluters.
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