Arnold Schwarzenegger says the global effort to mitigate the effects of climate change is being crippled by its fundamental communication problem.
”As long as they keep talking about global climate change, they are not gonna go anywhere. ‘Cause no one gives a s— about that,” Schwarzenegger told CBS “Sunday Morning” correspondent Tracy Smith in a piece that aired on Sunday.
“So my thing is, let’s go and rephrase this and communicate differently about it and really tell people — we’re talking about pollution. Pollution creates climate change, and pollution kills,” Schwarzenegger said.
The 75-year-old bodybuilder, actor, and former governor of California has become a public voice about climate change through his role as the host of the Austrian World Summit, a global climate change conference.
“I’m on a mission to go and reduce greenhouse gases worldwide,” Schwarzenegger told CBS, “because I’m into having a healthy body and a healthy Earth. That’s what I’m fighting for. And that’s my crusade.”
Anthropogenic global warming is caused by an increase in the atmosphere of greenhouse gasses, including carbon dioxide, which is released when fossil fuels like coal and oil are burned.
The momentum toward fighting climate change has grown in recent years. The global investment in producing clean energy — that is, energy that doesn’t generate greenhouse gasses — is surpassing the global investment in fossil fuels, according to the International Energy Agency. In 2023, $1.7 trillion is projected to go into clean technologies, including renewables, electric vehicles, nuclear power, grids, storage, low-emissions fuels, efficiency improvements and heat pumps. That’s more than the approximately $1 trillion expected to go into coal, gas and oil, the IEA said in a report released on Thursday.
Even still, the global emissions generated from energy globally are still rising, although only by 1% in 2022, which was less than feared, the IEA said in March.
With global levels of carbon emissions at record levels, there is a 50% chance that global warming will exceed the 1.5 degrees Celsius target above pre-industrial levels established by the Paris Climate Accord in nine years, according to the annual update published in November from the science team at the Global Carbon Project, an international scientific collaboration that measures carbon emissions globally.
Efforts to address climate change have increased substantially but are still insufficient.
In the United States, 54% of American adults view climate change as a major threat to the country’s well-being, according to survey data from Pew Research Center. That nationwide average includes a substantial split along party lines. Almost eight in ten Democrats, 78%, say climate change as a major threat to the country’s well-being, and that’s up from 58% a decade ago. Meanwhile, only about one in four, 23%, of Republicans say climate change a major threat to the country’s well-being, and that’s nearly unchanged from the 22% of Republicans who reported climate change was a major threat back in 2013, according to Pew Research Center data.
Schwarzenegger previously wrote an op-ed in USA Today where he called for a rebranding of communications surrounding climate change.
“We need a new environmentalism based on building and growing and common sense. Old environmentalism was afraid of growth. It hated building. Many of you know this style − protesting every new development, chaining yourself to construction equipment, and using lawsuits and permitting to slow everything down,” Schwarzenegger wrote in the USA Today op-ed that published on May 16.
“Today I call for a new environmentalism, based on building the clean energy projects we need as fast as we can. We have to build, build, build,” Schwarzenegger.