Arnold Schwarzenegger on Climate Control

Eric Pooley interviews the outgoing Governator on his "schnitzel strategy"

California voters resoundingly defeated Proposition 23, which would have killed your state's cap-and-trade program. Were you surprised by the victory margin?

No. First we only wanted a victory, but then we saw that our broad alliance just kept growingeveryone came out against the oil companies [Valero (VLO) and Tesoro (TSO), which sponsored Prop 23]. We even had other oil companies, like Chevron (CVX), working with us.

You bucked a national trend away from cap and trade.

Let's forget about that dialogue for a while. Not always, "What is your commitment to carbon reductions?" Let's talk about, "How do we incentivize America to build electric cars, hybrid cars, solar everywhere?" The way you come to an agreement is if you back off and say, "Take a deep breath, shake it out. What do we shoot for here? Maybe there's another way to reach our goal."

You're moving ahead with the cap in California. If it succeeds, could that change the national debate?

It's already working in Europe, but people don't pay attention. We'll succeed, and the Northeastern states are doing it [in the power sector], and the Western states, too.

Your new coalition, R20, hopes to scale regional action globally.

We can't afford to wait for national and international agreements. Just because America doesn't have a national agreement doesn't mean zero is going on here. There's a lot going on. At the Long Beach and L.A. ports we're turning diesel trucks into electric trucks. Hybrid tugboats. And the ports are making more money than ever, even though they screamed in the beginning.

Why have Californians made the connection between clean energy and job creation in a way people elsewhere in the country have not?

We have been working on this and talking about it for many more decades. We started early on; other states have not even talked about it, so they need the ramp-up time now. We can't force it down people's throats. It's all about communication. I can go to my wife and say, "Today you will make Wiener schnitzel. That's what I demand!" She may say, "Screw yourself!" But if I say, "Listen, honey, you know how much I love your Wiener schnitzel. You make the best. I have friends coming from Austria, I want to show off a little bit." Now she's gonna jump into action, pounding the meat, because it was a different spin. It's all about the same results by other means. The schnitzel strategy!

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