Ben Boychuk

Who’s really lying on climate change? Hint: Their first names are Jerry and Arnold

Schwarzenegger: 'Don't those conservative Republicans get the message?'

Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger slammed Donald Trump's retreat from the world climate stage and challenged fellow Republicans to accept the science that spurred him to push cap-and-trade legislation.
Up Next
Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger slammed Donald Trump's retreat from the world climate stage and challenged fellow Republicans to accept the science that spurred him to push cap-and-trade legislation.

Arnold Schwarzenegger really should be careful about calling people liars. Especially when he’s trying to pass off faith as scientific fact.

Maybe you saw the former governor and erstwhile action star berating conservatives the other day for refusing to accept his view that the answer to climate change is the heavy hand of government.

“Don’t those conservative Republicans get the message?” he asked. “And can’t they just think about it for a second and say, ‘Maybe we should stop lying to the people.’ Stop lying to the people. Stop it.”

Lying, eh? It’s a wonder he didn’t add, “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free.”

Schwarzenegger was on hand Tuesday for Gov. Jerry Brown’s big cap-and-trade bill signing ceremony on Treasure Island in San Francisco. After months of wrangling and the eventual defection of eight Republicans, Brown and the Democrats succeeded in extending the program until 2030.

Under cap and trade, the state gives credits to certain carbon producers, such as power plants and manufacturers. “Polluters” may exceed their allotted carbon caps by purchasing (or “trading”) more credits from other credit holders. The state expects to raise billions of dollars on the scheme.

Schwarzenegger was there to lend a bipartisan veneer to the spectacle. Remember, he signed Assembly Bill 32, the “Global Warming Solutions Act,” at the same location a decade ago. The law mandated that Californians cut greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, and another 80 percent by 2050 in “a manner that minimizes costs and maximizes benefits for the California economy.”

How has that worked so far? Schwarzenegger thinks it’s going just great. He said California showed how bipartisan cooperation can work, though he was a little iffy on the details.

California’s cap-and-trade program is full of carve-outs for industry. That’s the only way it can work without manufacturers abandoning the state wholesale and electricity and fuel prices climbing even higher than they are already.

And they’re quite high. California’s gasoline and electricity prices are the highest in the western United States. We had the highest gasoline taxes at around 54 cents a gallon, and they’re about to go up again in November between 12 cents and 19 cents per gallon, depending on the type of fuel. Cap-and-trade mandates will likely add another 63 cents a gallon by 2021, according to Legislative Analyst Mac Taylor. Low-income Californians will be hardest hit. The state’s answer seems to be, “Let them eat solar.”

Yet Schwarzenegger chided Republicans in Washington, D.C., for not following California’s lead. He was particularly harsh on President Donald Trump for withdrawing from the Paris climate accord.

“America did not drop out of the Paris agreement. America is fully in the Paris agreement,” Schwarzenegger said. “The states and the cities in America, the private sector, the academic sector, the scientists – everyone is still in the Paris agreement.”

Back in the real world, where the U.S. Constitution continues to hold some sway, America will drop out of the Paris agreement because the duly elected president judged it would be in the nation’s interest to do so.

But far be it from me to call the former governor a liar. He’s merely an actor on a stage playing a role.

Gov. Brown, on the other hand, reiterated that “if we don’t do something about” the changing climate, “it is the end of the world as we know it.” Note his unconditional use of the infinitive to be. “Is” – not “might be” or “could be.”

That isn’t science. It’s religious zealotry.

One can accept that the climate is changing and disagree over the remedies. Schwarzenegger, Brown and their climate co-religionists should stop misleading people. Stop insisting there is only one answer to climate change. Quit denying the efficacy of cheap and plentiful natural gas. Stop excluding hydroelectric as a source of clean, renewable energy. And get over your primitive fear of nuclear energy.

Stop confusing religion for science and selling fear.

Gov. Jerry Brown warned about the perils of inaction and credited a range of industries for their involvement in the climate package, from representatives for oil, agriculture, food processing, and environmentalists.

Ben Boychuk is managing editor of American Greatness. He can be contacted at ben@amgreatness.com or on Twitter @benboychuk.

  Comments