Energy & Environment

California to launch its own climate satellite in response to Trump

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California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) on Friday said his state is moving forward with plans to launch its own satellite to monitor climate change sources in response to President Trump threatening funding for NASA’s program.

“We’re under attack by a lot of people, including Donald Trump,” Brown said in prepared remarks. “But the climate threat still keeps growing. We’ve got to know what the hell’s going on all over the world, all the time. So we’re going to launch our own satellite — our own damn satellite — to figure out where the pollution is and how we’re going to end it.”

Brown told a gathering of political, environmental and business leaders at the Global Climate Action Summit that California would team up with commercial earth-imaging company Planet Labs to develop the technology.


The satellite would track and detect the sources of pollution to better understand the causes of climate change.

No timeline or cost was given for the endeavor. Philanthropist groups have already put up the initial funds for the project, according to Brown’s office.

Data from the satellite would be made available to governments and other bodies. The project, called the Climate Data Partnership, has the goal to reduce emissions by 1,000 million metric tons a year, roughly that of 200 million cars, according to a statement from the governor’s office.

The initiative follows up on a promise Brown made in December 2016 after a top Trump adviser said the incoming administration would eliminate NASA’s earth science programs, which would end the use of satellites to gather climate information. 

“If Trump turns off the satellites, California will launch its own damn satellite,” Brown said at the time.

NASA still has a climate monitoring system in place, although Trump in his latest budget sought to eliminate funding for NASA’s Carbon Monitoring System, according to Science Magazine.

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