On August 13th, 20133 Governor Schwarzenegger joined Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley and former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm to discuss the power of state governments in fighting climate change.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid invited Governor Schwarzenegger to speak at Tuesday's 6th annual National Clean Energy Summit in Las Vegas.
Every year, the summit brings together clean energy leaders from all sectors to discuss how to achieve a clean energy future for all.
Speaking in front of a large crowd, with clean cars and other technologies displayed in the events exposition in the background, Governor Schwarzenegger emphasized the power of subnational governments. He discussed the R20 and his efforts to convince states and cities around the world to follow California, which he noted was 40% more energy efficient than the rest of the United States.
Governor Schwarzenegger also made a compelling argument to change the way activists advocate clean energy, focusing on jobs, health, and national security instead of ice caps. "We're using a one-legged stool – climate change. When you only use one leg, you fall over. We need to use all four legs so that we have a stable argument that convinces people. I've had enough of the guilt – we need to make this sexy and hip. Don't get rid of the Hummer, just use an electric engine," Schwarzenegger said.
Governor O'Malley agreed, and added that we needed to make our argument about people have more – not less. More clean energy, more jobs, more breathable air.
The panel included some humor, as Governor Schwarzenegger asked if people who claim greenhouse gases aren't a pollutant would be willing to strap themselves to an exhaust pipe, to big laughs from the crowd.
But it ended on an inspirational note. "When did America ever say, 'Let someone else lead the way'? When did we ever say, 'Let some other country go first'? This is the greatest country in the world because we never waited. And we shouldn't be waiting on clean energy," closed Schwarzenegger.
The crowd gave the panel a rousing ovation.
To see a webcast of this discussion at the Clean Energy Summit click here. Dicussion starts at 01:11:00 on video timeline.
By Daniel Ketchell
Special Assistant to Governor Schwarzenegger