California launching its 'own damn satellite' to track climate change pollution

California’s not playing when it comes to protecting the environment. The state plans to send up its “own damn satellite” to track pollution causing climate change, Gov. Jerry Brown announced at his Global Action Climate Summit.

“We’re under attack by a lot of people, including Donald Trump, but the climate threat still keeps growing,” Brown said Friday in the closing remarks of the San Francisco conference. “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, with great precision.”

The satellite will be built by San Francisco satellite company Planet Labs, also known as Planet. Brown did not offer a cost estimate or timetable.

Brown floated the idea of a state satellite even before Trump settled into the White House amid fears the president would cut funding for climate change research.

RELATED: Foods that could go extinct due to climate change

Foods that could go extinct due to climate change
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Foods that could go extinct due to climate change


There are many reasons why avocados are more expensive now than ever before, including a farmers' strike. But the biggest threats to avocados are rooted in environmental issues linked to climate change: hot weather and droughts have caused problems everywhere from California to Australia. Avocados are weather-sensitive and slow growing — making them especially susceptible to the effects of climate change. 

(Photo credit should read RONALDO SCHEMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)


In September, a report from the nonprofit Climate Institute concluded that the area around the world fit for coffee production would decrease by 50% due to climate change. In addition to dealing with drought, climate change has made coffee crops more vulnerable to diseases like coffee rust, which have wiped out more than a billion dollars in crops. 

(Photo by Taylor Weidman/Bloomberg via Getty Images)


Warmer and more extreme weather is hurting hops production in the US, reports ClimateWatch Magazine. 

And droughts could mean less tasty drinks. Some brewers fear that a shortage of river water may force them to brew with groundwater — a change that the head brewer at Lagunitas said "would be like brewing with Alka-Seltzer," according to NPR. 

(Photo via Getty Images)


Right now, climate change is actually helping oysters, as they grow faster in warmer waters. However, warmer waters also make oysters more susceptible to oyster drills, reports Seeker, citing a recent study in Functional Ecology

Drills are snails that attack and eat oysters. They're already a multi-million dollar problem for the oyster industry that could get worse thanks to warming water temperatures.

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Maple syrup

Climate change is already shifting maple syrup tapping season and impacting the quality of syrup, according to Climate Central. Southern producers fear that eventually, areas like Virginia won't get cold enough for maple syrup production, even during the chilliest time of the year. 

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Indonesia and Ghana, which have historically had ideal climates for growing cocoa beans, are already seeing decreased yields of cocoa. Chocolate companies, like Mars, have hired meteorologists to study the impact of changing weather patterns and attempt to reduce damage. 

"If climate conditions in these growing areas begin to change over time, it may influence both the supply and quality available of an ingredient that we use in our products," Katie Johnson, a senior manager on the commercial applied research team, told Business Insider in September. "Anticipating what the climate will be like 10, 20, or even 100 years from now is difficult, though the better we can understand what the different climate scenarios and risks to our supply chain are, the more prepared we can be in the future."

(Photo by Charlotte Lake / Alamy)


If ocean waters increase more than five degrees, baby lobsters may not be able to survive, according to research by the University of Maine Darling Marine Center and Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences, the Guardian reported. 

The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has said that the Gulf of Maine will reach that temperature by 2100. In other words, Maine's lobsters could go from a more than $330 million business to extinct in 84 years. 

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Planet, which was founded by former NASA scientists eight years ago, has already launched over 150 Earth-imaging satellites, the largest private satellite fleet in the world. Customers include agribusiness, government, mapping, environmental and other organizations.

The first California satellite will be designed to pinpoint sources of climate pollutants, including “super pollutants” that have more powerful — and destructive — heat-trapping effects, according to a statement from Brown’s office. Planet’s co-founder Robbie Schingler said the technology can “enhance our ability to measure, monitor and ultimately mitigate the impacts of climate change.” 

Planet is already working with the California Air Resources Board to develop and refine the necessary technology, Brown’s statement said. Planet will manage the mission and collaborate with the state government and a number of other donors already on board to fund the initiative.

Data from the satellite would be made available to the public through a partnership with the Environmental Defense Fund. The nonprofit is launching its own pollution-monitoring satellite in 2021 to exclusively track methane emissions spewed by 80 percent of the world’s oil and gas production facilities.

Brown, who called Trump a “liar, criminal and fool” earlier in the week for his attempts to dismantle Obama-era climate change efforts, has been at loggerheads with the president over his environmental policies from the start.

But California, which is the fifth-largest economy in the world, has its own clout. Brown on Monday signed into law Senate Bill 100 which pledges that the state will obtain 100 percent of California’s electricity from clean sources by 2045.

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.
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