STUDIO CITY (CBSLA) — California will be launching its “own damn satellite” to help pinpoint the sources of atmospheric pollution, Gov. Jerry Brown said Friday, following through on a promise he made years ago and finally earning his “Moonbeam” bona fides.
The four-term governor tweeted a video of his speech at this year’s Global Climate Action Summit, a conference held this week in San Francisco that brought together businesses, scientists and governmental agencies to talk about combating climate change.
“You’ve heard all the messages, we’ve seen the movies, we’ve got the call. No more talk. Now’s the time for action, but I do wanna add one more thing,” Brown told attendees Friday. “In California, with science under attack — in fact, we’re under attack by a lot of people, including Donald Trump — but the climate threat still keeps growing.
“So we wanna know what the hell is going on all over the world, all the time,” he continued. “So we’re gonna launch our own satellite, our own damn satellite to figure out where the pollution is and how we’re gonna end it, with great precision. This initiative will enable us to spotlight the methane, the pollution, and then be able to be in a position to point out those who pollute and then develop the remedies to end it.”
According to a press release from Gov. Brown’s office, the state will join “San Francisco-based Earth-imaging company Planet Labs (Planet) to develop and eventually launch a satellite that will track climate change-causing pollutants with unprecedented precision and help the world dramatically reduce these destructive emissions.”
Planet Labs is the world’s “largest constellation” of Earth-imaging satellites, having already already launched over 150 of them, according the press release. The company was founded by former NASA scientists in 2010.
The California Air Resources Board is also working on the initiative.
A month after the election of Donald Trump, Brown said he’d launch the “damn satellite” if the then-president-elect followed through on his threat to gut funding for NASA, specifically its climate change research, according to The Associated Press. Trump said in a 2016 interview “nobody really knows,” when asked about climate change, despite the nearly unanimous scientific consensus the phenomenon is real.
Earlier in the summit, Brown criticized Trump, saying he would be remembered as a “liar, criminal, fool […] take your choice,” CBS San Francisco reported. However, Brown was met with his own protesters demanding he take greater action against oil well drilling in the state.
During his first two terms as California’s governor in the 1970s, Brown earned the moniker “Gov. Moonbeam” after suggesting the state launch its own emergency communications satellite. A journalist picked up on the name from Brown’s then-girlfriend Linda Ronstadt.