Save the Hummer, Fix the Environment

Los Angeles, UNITED STATES: California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger looks at a Hummer H3 during his visit to the 100th Annual Los Angeles Auto Show, 30 November 2006. Photograph: Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images Close

Los Angeles, UNITED STATES: California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger looks at a... Read More

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Los Angeles, UNITED STATES: California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger looks at a Hummer H3 during his visit to the 100th Annual Los Angeles Auto Show, 30 November 2006. Photograph: Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images

Arnold Schwarzenegger told a conference in New Delhi last week that huge American cars aren’t responsible for global warming. Their engines are. "It's not the big car that's the problem. It's the technology inside the car," he said.

Swapping out engines is an easier way to fight climate change than trying to modify people's lifestyles. The Hollywood icon and former California governor converted his two Hummer trucks to run on hydrogen and biofuels.

"Technology is the answer to everything," he said. The Hummers produce little or no direct greenhouse gas emissions, he said, unlike conventional models. (His home Jacuzzi and pool are solar-powered.) Schwarzenegger spoke to delegates assembled to plan a U.N. environmental conference in Rio de Janeiro this summer that will address how to raise the world’s poor out of subsistence lifestyles, many of them in developing countries on the front-line of climate change.

As governor, Schwarzenegger earned environmental credentials by sponsoring a 2006 emissions-reduction law in California requiring utilities to get almost a third of their electricity from renewable sources and creating a market for carbon-dioxide pollution permits. The state’s market for carbon emissions permits went into effect this year. Schwarzenegger is founding chair of a group called R20, whose members include 100 regional leaders from around the globe, which aims to shift the world to a greener economy.

He left office with only 22 percent of voters saying he had done a good job. His reputation was further tarnished by his admission that he fathered a child out of wedlock.

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