California governor: 'If Trump turns off the satellites, California will launch its own damn satellite'

Governor Jerry Brown (L), left, attorney general Kamala Harris (R). Photo: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times

California Governor Jerry Brown gave a fiery speech on climate change policy Wednesday, during which he said, “If Trump turns off the satellites, California will launch its own damn satellite,” according to the LA Times.

Brown was speaking at the 2016 meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), a prominent body of scientists who study Earth and space.

Back in November, a top Trump advisor suggested the incoming administration would eliminate NASA’s Earth science programs.

That would mean failing to launch, shutting down, or turning over the suite of satellites that provide the trove of data NASA releases about the Earth and its land, oceans, and air. That dataset is critical for tracking hurricanes, coastal erosion, glacial melting, land use, wildfires, and even the approach of crippling solar storms. Scientists across disciplines, and the world, have since told Business Insider that such a move would cripple their ability to do research.

The AGU meeting this year, not normally a hothouse of news-making political dissent, has become the site of public protests and appeals to Donald Trump not to cut back or defund climate research.

And the state of California under Brown’s leadership has taken a strong stand on science and climate change policy. Last January, State Attorney General Kamala Harris (now Senator-elect) launched an investigation into whether Exxon-Mobil lied about climate change risks of its fossil fuel business.

Brown also proposed a California satellite during his first tenure as Governor more than four decades ago, earning the nickname “Governor Moonbeam.”

So it probably shouldn’t surprise anyone that when Brown said, “We’ve got the scientists, we’ve got the lawyers and we’re ready to fight,” the audience at AGU roared with applause.

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