California Governor Jerry Brown gave a fiery speech, promising to fight President-elect Donald Trump on climate change and even launch an independent state-run satellite if necessary.
“We’ve got the scientists, we’ve got the lawyers and we’re ready to fight,” Brown declared in a speech to the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco on Wednesday, the Los Angeles Times reported. He addressed the president-elect directly when echoing worries that climate research conducted by NASA could cease under the new administration. “If Trump turns off the satellites, California will launch its own damn satellite.”
Brown also ripped on former Texas Governor Rick Perry, whom Trump selected to lead the Department of Energy. Perry has a long history of mocking California’s big-government induced economic problems and inviting business owners to flee to Texas. “We’ve got more sun than you’ve got oil,” Brown quipped.
Ironically, however, Texas produces more wind energy than California, and it might overtake the Golden State in solar as well. Under Perry’s leadership, Texas pursued an “all of the above” energy policy, and emissions dropped substantially. Texas even exports its own oil and natural gas to other states.
Brown’s concerns about satellites and NASA trace back to a report in Scientific American, which reported that “Under Trump, NASA May Turn a Blind Eye to Climate Change.” The article itself does not address whether or not Trump’s administration would end the satellite data program overall, but it hints at that idea. The article speculates based on an op-ed published weeks before the election, written by former Congressman Robert Walker and economist Peter Navarro.
Walker and Navarro promised that under a Trump administration, NASA would prioritize “deep-space activities rather than Earth-centric work that is better handled by other agencies.” Agencies like the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Science Foundation (NSF) do this kind of work, often contracting with NASA for satellite expertise.
On its own, the op-ed suggests merely a focus on space travel and research for NASA, rather than the elimination of satellite data collection focused on Earth’s climate. But all Scientific American had to do was report Trump as a “climate denier” and trust the imagination of its audience would put the pieces together.
Next Page: What the Trump administration’s NASA plans actually mean.
NASA’s Earth science budget did grow 50 percent under the Obama administration, and Republicans opposed that growth as political. But this does not mean the right opposes science. As Walker told the Scientific American, “This is not ideological.”
“When we talk about ‘deep-space activities,’ we’re talking about planetary science and space-based telescopes and all those kinds of things,” Walker explained. “There have been concerns among some of us that those sorts of NASA programs were robbed in order to concentrate on Earth science, and we want to reestablish the emphasis of NASA itself on the things that go beyond Earth orbit and Earth-observation activities.” Is wanting NASA to reach for the stars somehow “anti-science”?
Scientific American points out that the budgets of NOAA and NSF are much smaller than NASA’s, but that could easily change. Yes, Republicans generally favor smaller government and oppose spending increases, but they do not oppose scientific data collection.
Nevertheless, many climate alarmists fear that the Trump administration might erase years of scientific data. They are so focused on their belief in the catastrophic threat of climate change that they automatically assume anyone who disagrees is not only “anti-science,” but malicious to the degree of committing a crime — destroying federally funded data. This is nothing short of a conspiracy theory.
California Governor Brown is now spreading another unfounded theory — that Trump will stop the collection of climate data as president. This is yet another effort to undermine the incoming administration and push climate alarmism.