Former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger was presented with the Haagen-Smit Legacy Award for his contributions on improving air quality at a special 50th anniversary meeting of the California Air Resources Board (CARB) in Sacramento on February 8th, 2018. Schwarzenegger received the award for his work fighting pollution in both California and throughout the world.
Mary Nichols, Chair of the California Air Resources Board, presented the Haagen-Smit Award to Schwarzenegger and said the former Governor’s “career has truly been multifaceted and defies categorization as well as expectations. The same can be said of his environmental accomplishments. In 2006 he signed Assembly Bill 32, California’s Global Warming Solutions Act, which was even more groundbreaking than we realized at the time. It put California at the forefront of climate change mitigation and gave CARB responsibility to find causes and solutions to one of the most important issues of our time. Governor Schwarzenegger also shepherded California’s pioneering motor vehicle emissions standards through the Federal Approval Process, in difficult circumstances, paving the way for substantial reductions of both climate change and emissions and the adverse health impacts of of vehicle emissions and he was never afraid to take on the opposition regardless of their party or their size. While Governor Schwarzenegger’s policy achievements are impressive his approach to environmental leadership is also equally worthy of recognition for the fact is that he brought a global vision as well as a respect for science and openness to innovation, talent for post-partisan collaborative partnership in the service of enlightened policy making and these have been an inspiration to many.”
In accepting the award Schwarzenegger congratulated Nichols and the Air Resources Board and thanked them both for the extraordinary job that they have done over the years. He went on to say that “other states are inspired, and the whole world is inspired by the great work that has been done in California.” The former Governor also congratulated the other leaders that were presented with Haagen-Smit awards at the board meeting: former Congressman Henry Waxman, the National Resources Defense Council’s David Hawkins, Nobel Laureate Mario Molina and former U.S. EPA administrator Gina McCarthy.
The world’s premier air quality award, often called the Nobel Prize for air quality, is named for the late Dr. Arie Haagen-Smit, the "father" of air pollution science and control. The award recognizes those who continue his legacy through perseverance, leadership and innovation in the areas of research, environmental policy, science and technology, public education and community service. Dr. Haagen-Smit’s breakthrough research, which became the foundation upon which today's air pollution standards are based, concluded that most of California's smog is the result of photochemistry — the reaction of sunlight with industrial and motor vehicle exhaust to create ozone.