Hasta la Vista, Arnie: Can the Climate Movement Afford to Lose Arnold Schwarzenegger?
The most prominent Republican voice for climate action is now in the (hound)doghouse. Turns out the Sperminator has been pumping more than iron.
If you're as revolted as I am, you might be tempted to toss the bum permanently overboard—but can we afford to?
At a time when every Republican presidential contender is arguing against climate action, when more than half of the Republicans in Congress question whether climate change is even happening, let alone whether we should do anything about it, Arnold Schwarzenegger has been consistently leading the charge against climate change and for clean energy.
He has long since lost favor with the GOP base—if he ever had it—but Schwarzenegger still commands a huge audience and is much more likely to reach Joe and Jane Six-Pack than are the pip-squeaks holding climate-denying hearings in the House or the milquetoast Democrats opposing them.
While governor of California, Schwarzenegger signed the landmark Global Warming Solutions Act (aka AB 32), laying the groundwork for the nation's first mandatory, statewide cap-and-trade system to go into effect in 2012. Last year, he pushed hard to defeat the oil-industry-funded initiative, Prop 23, that would have repealed that climate law. He fought automakers and the Bush administration for the right to impose tough vehicle emissions standards in California, paving the way for the Obama administration to adopt tougher standards nationally.
Along the way, he's been effective at communicating climate concerns to the masses—not in terms of parts of million, but in terms of macho climate heroes versus girlie-men deniers. Sure, he did dumb stuff like keep a fleet of Hummers and fly daily between L.A. and Sacramento, but all in all, the Governator was a force for green.