Schwarzenegger at COP26 Calls for "Terminating Pollution"

Schwarzenegger "Terminate Pollution"

As the governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger was a climate trailblazer. More than a decade before the Paris Agreement, his executive order set the world's fifth largest economy on a path to be net zero by 2050, pioneered clean air standards that were later adopted by the federal government, and secured Tesla's factory with tax breaks for zero-emission car manufacturers. Schwarzenegger, also a co-founder of World War Zero, sat down in Glasgow with LinkedIn Co-founder Allen Blue for a conversation about climate action. He stressed the need to focus on the cause of climate change, versus effect, calling COP26 "a conference about how we go about terminating pollution."

Why This Matters

One major takeaway from The Terminator star: communication matters. He argued that "climate" is an open-ended word. Pollution comes from fossil fuels, which the world needs to stop using. Pollution is the enemy and should be the focus, not the climate. He pointed to his own experience discussing climate issues with Californians. Talking about sea level rise or melting ice caps didn't work, he said. What did: connecting the issues to people's personal lives, like their health.

Reuters: 'Terminate pollution' Schwarzenegger tells climate summit, July 1, 2021.

Beyond Glasgow

There's plenty of communication, talk, and promises happening at COP26. But according to Schwarzenegger, as nice as it is for global leaders to gather with a focus on the climate crisis, the real work is still ahead. "The big challenge is not so much Glasgow or COP," he said. "The real challenge is when people come home and they face the reality of local politics, of domestic politics."

Orders of Business

LinkedIn's Allen Blue opened the conversation by noting that this COP conference has the most business representation yet. Blue's take? That businesses have begun to realize that they have a responsibility to change.

He says businesses have two main things to do. The first: greening operations, which means not producing greenhouse gas emissions and waste, and not polluting air and water. And second, greening businesses, which means "green options" -- from commercial products to financial ones -- that do not contribute to the climate crisis and contribute to the "overall climate solution."