Two years ago, after President Donald Trump was elected, California’s Democratic Governor Jerry Brown, known as “Governor Moonbeam” in some circles, made a big announcement.
“If Trump turns off the satellites, California will launch its own damn satellite,” Brown said, according to a Fox News report.
“I remember back in 1978 I proposed a Landsat satellite for California. They called me ‘Governor Moonbeam’ because of that,” he had lamented.
While speaking at the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco this week, Brown said he is now going to make good on that promise. “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.”
He added, “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 want to know, what the hell is going on all over the world, all the time?”
— James Robert Carroll (@JRCarrollNews) September 14, 2018
Concerns have been expressed now over the plan, just as they were back then. One obvious problem is that his term as governor is drawing to a close.
Isn't Gov. Moonbeam forgetting something? He has 3 1/2 months left in office. His satellite will take several years to launch. Has anyone asked Gov. Newsom?
— George Skelton @ LAT (@LATimesSkelton) September 14, 2018
Los Angeles Times political columnist, George Skelton, jumped the gun a little with his tweet, though. Democrat Gavin Newsom and Republican John Cox will be facing off in the general election in November. The project would then fall to them to move forward with or cancel.
Another concern is over the cost and funding of the project. Elements of that remain unclear.
Living up to "Governor Moonbeam" nickname, Jerry Brown plans to launch satellite to study climate change. Might cost tens of millions of dollars. But no timetable or budget yet. https://t.co/96d8fIACBs #GCAS2018 pic.twitter.com/qz2Q0q23cr
— Paul Rogers (@PaulRogersSJMN) September 14, 2018
Fox News reported that Brown “didn’t divulge any how much (sic) it will cost the state to undergo a space-related project that is generally done by the federal government.” But he apparently did share some scant information with the Washington Post.
His office “told the Washington Post that government scientists and staff will work on the project, but no money from the state’s coffers will be spent toward the development of the satellite. A number of donors have stepped up to fund the experiment, including San Francisco investment banker Richard Lawrence and the Jeremy and Hannelore Grantham Environmental Trust,” wrote Fox News.
The project would be worked on by Planet Labs, a company based in San Francisco. They have previously launched 150 satellites.
The satellite project is not the only swipe Brown has taken at Trump. According to The Guardian, “Brown not only signed a bill that calls for 100% of the state’s electricity to come from carbon-free sources by 2045 but also penned an executive order demanding that California completely eliminate net emissions across its economy, including transport and agriculture, by the same year.”
He touted California as being a global leader in the climate change battle. He also attacked Trump as “the main obstacle to further progress.”
Brown said, “I don’t believe Trump represents the present but he has the power, he has the Republicans hook, line and sinker. His unabashed acolytes will follow him over the cliff. Gross ignorance is dangerous.”
“The battle is with Trump – that’s the number one fight. But once he’s out of there, dealing with climate change will still be a fight.”
While Brown has been very vocal about climate change concerns, some are calling him a hypocrite. Fox News wrote that the group Consumer Watchdog has taken aim at him regarding fossil fuels.
The group’s president, Jamie Court, called him out on his record. “This week Gov. Brown is going to stand on the world stage and say California is leading the way on climate change and it is just not true. The governor has made his own record of hypocrisy by failing to do anything to go after fossil fuel companies and the oil industry.”
Whether Governor Moonbeam actually will keep his word this time remains to be seen. After all, telling people you will launch a satellite is a pretty big promise.
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