With his latest cabinet picks, Donald Trump has strongly signalled that his administration will do little to combat climate change, which he once called a hoax invented by the Chinese. If the US president-elect tries to stop climate research, however, California’s governor has promised to fight him at every turn.
In a barnburner speech on Wednesday, Governor Jerry Brown vowed to defy any attempt by the future president to "mess with" the state's earth science programs, telling a group of geophysicists in San Francisco, "We will persevere."
"We've got the scientists, we've got the lawyers and we're ready to fight," Brown told the American Geophysical Union to wild applause. "If Trump turns off the satellites, California will launch its own damn satellite."
In a op-ed last month, a senior Trump adviser suggested gutting NASA's vital Earth science division, which he characterised as "politically correct environmental monitoring". On Wednesday, Brown invoked his (originally mocking) "Governor Moonbeam" nickname to illustrate California's commitment to such research, saying, "I didn't get that moniker for nothing."
"Judged by measures of gross domestic product of over $2.2 trillion [$2.9 trillion], we're the fifth or sixth largest economy in the world and we got a lot of firepower," said Brown. "We will set the stage. We'll set the example. And whatever Washington thinks they are doing, California is the future."
In the same speech, Brown blasted Rick Perry, the climate change-questioning former governor of Texas who Trump recently tapped to head the US Department of Energy.
"Rick, I got some news for you," said Brown. "California is growing a hell of a lot faster than Texas. And we've got more sun than you have oil."