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“We’re launching our own damn satellite” says Governor Brown

In closing remarks at the Global Climate Action Summit, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. announced that the State of California is teaming up with San Francisco-based Earth-imaging company Planet Labs to develop and eventually launch a satellite that will track climate change-causing pollutants with unprecedented precision and help the world dramatically reduce these emissions.
“With science still under attack and the climate threat growing, we’re launching our own damn satellite," he said.

In closing remarks at the Global Climate Action Summit in San Fransico, California State Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. announced that the State is teaming up with San Francisco-based Planet Labs to develop and eventually launch a satellite that will track climate change-causing pollutants with unprecedented precision and help the world dramatically reduce these emissions. “With science still under attack and the climate threat growing, we’re launching our own damn satellite,” said Governor Brown (photo courtesy State of California, Governor’s Office).

Planet Labs, which was founded by ex-NASA scientists in 2010, operates the world’s largest constellation of satellites in history. In the last two years, Planet Labs has launched over 150 Earth-imaging satellites, manufactured in San Francisco, California helping customers in agriculture, government, mapping, NGOs and in other markets to make better decisions.

Its robust aerospace and data processing infrastructure, innovative technology and engineering and scientific expertise will be utilized to develop and operate the new satellite, with the possibility of launching additional satellites in the future as part of this initiative.

In closing remarks at the Global Climate Action Summit on September 14, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. announced that the State of California is teaming up with Planet Labs to develop and eventually launch a satellite that will track climate change-causing pollutants with unprecedented precision and help the world dramatically reduce these destructive emissions.

With science still under attack and the climate threat growing, we’re launching our own damn satellite. This groundbreaking initiative will help governments, businesses, and landowners pinpoint – and stop – destructive emissions with unprecedented precision, on a scale that’s never been done before, said Governor Brown.

Pinpoint pollutant source

The State of California, through the California Air Resources Board (CARB), is developing and refining the technology needed to make this initiative possible with Planet and other stakeholders. Planet Labs will manage the mission operations and collaborate with the State of California and others on funding this groundbreaking effort.

This satellite will be capable of detecting the “point source” of climate pollutants, including super pollutants which have more potent heat-trapping effects but remain in the atmosphere for a shorter time than carbon dioxide (CO2). Reducing these pollutants can have an immediate and beneficial impact.

Planet is honored to work closely with the State of California to understand how advanced satellite technology can enhance our ability to measure, monitor, and ultimately mitigate the impacts of climate change. As a mission-driven commercial company, one of the greatest impacts Planet can make is turning technological breakthroughs and data into tools that benefit the planet while encouraging the growth of business, said Robbie Schingler, Co-Founder and Chief Strategy Officer of Planet.

The State of California and Planet are committed to making environmentally-related satellite data available to the public and will work in partnership with the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) — and others with complementary projects — to establish a new Climate Data Partnership. EDF is uniquely positioned as a partner having announced its own distinct and complementary project, MethaneSAT, in April 2018.

The Climate Data Partnership will serve as a common platform for reporting data from these, and other, satellite systems studying climate variables and the earth’s atmosphere. This data sharing will enable governments, businesses, landowners, and others to pursue more targeted mitigation measures worldwide. These efforts are part of a strategy that has the potential to deliver global emission reductions equivalent to 1 000 million tonnes of CO2 annually.

This new initiative is a critical part of Governor Brown’s bold commitment to harness leading-edge technology in the fight against climate change. These satellite technologies are part of a new era of environmental innovation that is supercharging our ability to solve problems. They won’t cut emissions by themselves, but they will make invisible pollution visible and generate the transparent, actionable, data we need to protect our health, our environment, and our economies, said EDF President Fred Krupp.

Initial funding of this project has been provided by Dee and Richard Lawrence and OIF, as well as The Jeremy and Hannelore Grantham Environmental Trust.

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