Arnold Schwarzenegger: ‘No one gives a s— about’ climate change — this is what it should be called instead

Austrian-US actor, filmmaker, politician and activist Arnold Schwarzenegger gives a speech during the opening ceremony of the R20 Regions of Climate Action Austrian World Summit in Vienna, Austria, on May 28, 2019.

Georg Hochmuth | Afp | Getty Images

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 profile that aired 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 of greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, in the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is released when fossil fuels such as coal and oil are burned.

As long as they keep talking about global climate change, they are not gonna go anywhere. ‘Cause no one gives a s—about that.

Arnold Schwarzenegger

Bodybuilder, actor, former governor of California

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 gases — is surpassing the global investment in fossil fuels, according to the International Energy Agency. In 2023, $1.7 trillion is expected 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 Thursday.

Still, the emissions generated from energy globally are still rising, although by only 1% in 2022, which was less than feared, the IEA said in March.

With global carbon emissions at record highs, there is a 50% chance that in nine years global warming will exceed the target of 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels that was established by the Paris Climate Accord, according to the annual update published in November by the Global Carbon Project, an international scientific collaboration that measures carbon emissions.

Efforts to address climate change have increased substantially but are still insufficient.

In the United States, 54% of 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 8 in 10 Democrats, 78%, say climate change is a major threat to the country’s well-being, and that’s up from 58% a decade ago. Meanwhile, only about 1 in 4 Republicans, 23%, say climate change is a major threat to the country’s well-being. That’s nearly unchanged from the 22% of Republicans who said climate change was a major threat in 2013, according to Pew Research Center data.

On May 16, USA Today published an op-ed Schwarzenegger wrote in which he called for the environmental movement to adapt to changing times, which he said includes rebranding of communications surrounding climate change and embracing growth that involves clean energy projects.

“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 op-ed.

“[T]oday 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 wrote.

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