Two years ago, Jerry Brown suggested that California might “launch its own damn satellite” in defiance of federal climate change policies; well, he wasn’t daydreaming. On Friday, Brown announced that California would launch its own satellite into orbit to track and monitor the formation of pollutants that cause climate change.
This dramatic announcement was made at the closing remark of the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco: “With science still under attack and the climate threat growing, we’re launching our own damn satellite,” – Brown remarked.
In a press release, the governor’s office said the California Air Resources Board would be developing technology capable of detecting the “point source” of carbon dioxide emissions and other climate pollutants that linger in the atmosphere, trapping in heat and warming the Earth’s surface.
The program is in partnership with satellite imagery purveyor Planet to create a custom craft to “pinpoint and stop destructive emissions with unprecedented precision, on a scale that’s never been done before.”
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Brown 2 years ago, speaking at a conference, suggested that California should launch its own satellite for emergency communications. At the time, the governor was in his 30s and full of ideas for the state that critics dismissed as flaky. Some were put into law and established California as a pioneer on various policy fronts; others were put on the shelf.
With news of proposed budget cuts under the new presidential administration that could have effectively eliminated Earth-observing satellites used to monitor the effects of climate change, Brown promised to defy the federal government.
Well, California hopes to launch the satellite by 2021, with data being available from 2022. The state hopes to put the California satellite to use in pinpointing the sources of climate pollutants, which could enable it to refine its regulatory approach and better understand how to mitigate warming. The confirmed data would also be made public with the help of the Environmental Defense Fund.