Schwarzenegger: ‘Don’t worry about Trump’

Source: Debra Kahn, E&E News reporter • Posted: Monday, October 29, 2018

Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) still sees hope in U.S. climate policy but thinks the movement needs to change its messaging.

At an event in Los Angeles affiliated with the U.N. climate talks, Schwarzenegger urged the international community to draw succor from the progress being made outside Washington, D.C.

“I say, ‘Don’t worry about Trump, and about his lack of knowledge and interest in the subject,'” Schwarzenegger said. “I say, ‘The key thing you should know is the rest of the country, the rest of the United States, thinks differently.'”

Yesterday’s event at the Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator took place under the auspices of the Talanoa Dialogue, a review of national commitments to be held this year at the climate talks in Katowice, Poland. The dialogue is aimed at encouraging countries to share best practices and start thinking about the next round of Paris Agreement pledges to be offered by 2020.

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer announced yesterday that his city would become the largest so far in California to form a local energy agency as an alternative to the incumbent investor-owned utility, San Diego Gas & Electric. San Diego’s community choice aggregator will aim to offer 100 percent renewable energy by 2035, 10 years ahead of the state’s 2045 goal of 100 percent “zero-carbon” electricity.

“This is not a partisan issue, ladies and gentlemen; it’s a right-thing-to-do issue,” said Faulconer, a Republican.

Schwarzenegger said the mayor’s move proves “there are Republicans out there that are smart, and are going in the right direction. … No party has all the answers.”

He urged climate hawks to tailor their messages to people who “want to put food on their table today” rather than consider effects decades from now.

“You can talk about climate change, and you can talk about what is going to happen in the future if you continue being stupid and rely so much on fossil fuels,” Schwarzenegger said. “But don’t forget to talk about the health aspect.”

Other participants pointed to some recent bright spots in climate finance. Former state Sen. Fran Pavley (D) highlighted the $350 million investment World Energy announced earlier this week in a biofuels refinery in Los Angeles County.

But Terry Tamminen, former head of the California EPA under Schwarzenegger and current CEO of the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation, acknowledged struggles in attracting clean energy investment.

“Finance has been the piece that’s been the slowest to come to the table,” he said.

Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama, who led last year’s climate talks in Bonn, Germany, invoked Schwarzenegger’s optimistic spirit.

“We are kicking some serious butt, and together with all of you, I know we can terminate the current complacency and lack of resolve,” Bainimarama said in a video message.

“Hasta la vista, baby.”