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article imageOp-Ed: Pro-science California pledges to launch 'own damn satellite'

By Jack Derricourt     Dec 15, 2016 in Politics
California Governor Jerry Brown had strong words against a potentially climate denying U.S. federal government on Wednesday, stating that if Trump intends to take down earth science satellites, then California will launch its “own damn satellite.”
The governor made the statement in front of an audience of scientists at the American Geophysical Union on Wednesday. He didn’t pull any punches. Speaking of the need to defend scientific facts about climate change, Brown reassured them with irony:
“You have nothing to lose but your grants, your tenure and who knows what else. And politicians, all you have to lose is your elections. But it takes some boldness, some risk-taking . . . the power of truth is profoundly more effective than the power of rhetoric . . . so we have to get back to common sense: what do we know, what’s real, what’s human?”
Governor Brown compared the fight against Big Oil to the struggles against Big Tobacco and the lies they spread for decades in an effort to convince people that cigarettes weren’t bad for your health. Pledging support to scientists and the effort by different states — and the international community — to pave the way for the energy revolution, Brown asserted his state’s dedication to “sanity, sustainability and truth.” For scientists and concerned citizens the world over, this brazen dedication comes as a firm reassurance by one of the biggest, progressive economic engines in the world (California’s GDP outranks all other states).
Two-time state governor Brown is both the second youngest and oldest governor in California history. This strange arrangement imbues California’s longest serving governor with a duality of old aged wisdom and young-hearted rage.
Brown of course has the comfort of a Democrat-entrenched state: California is an outlier in every American political sense, with the state Democrats holding a super majority. But if this is the rhetoric of a Democrat stronghold, it’s got the right attitude: pro-progress, pro-science and pro-truth. It might be preaching to the tech-driven, climate science innovating choir — but preaching like this will become dearer over the next four years as climate change denial becomes the official Federal position on reality.
The anger Brown articulates is real and is fed by the rapid about-face against science and the international community witnessed in Trump's cabinet picks: the current energy secretary is a world-renowned nuclear physicist; the incoming nominee is the longstanding governor of a resource-blind, oil subsidy addicted state. And Trump’s nominee for secretary of state helped head Exxon Mobil, a company that most identify as the dirtiest offender when it comes to climate crimes — and a company that was only recently put under investigation for deceiving the public about cilmate change for years.
So why should Trump care what Jerry Brown has to say? Well, there’s a reason the President-elect was sitting down with California’s giants of Silicon Valley this week, asking them to contact him ‘anytime.’ The technology powerhouse that is California is essential to a healthy U.S. economy. There are multiple balls in Brown’s court. And even Trump knows that you’ve got to have the ball to win the game.
I look forward to California’s ‘own damn satellite’. The kind of determination Brown demonstrated on Wednesday helped push through advances in clean tech during one climate denial presidency (while the governorship was held by new Apprentice host Arnold), and will help push it through another one.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about California, governor jerry brown, Climate change, Trump, Science
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