Schwarzenegger makes rare political appearance to fight climate change

Sacramento, California: Arnold Schwarzenegger made a rare political appearance on Monday to promote California's fight against climate change and to unveil his official portrait as governor.

Nearly four years after the Republican left office, his USC Schwarzenegger Institute hosted the climate symposium that also featured Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat.

 Schwarzenegger makes rare political appearance to fight climate change

Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger discusses global warming while speaking at a symposium on California's landmark 2006 global warming law in Sacramento. AP

The seminar, titled "Lessons from California," highlighted the state's aggressive efforts to tackle issues such as reducing carbon emissions.

"While the politicians in Washington can't get anything done because of being stuck in these ideological foxholes, we here in California have two governors from two different parties, together in the same room fighting for the same green energy future," Schwarzenegger said at the summit.

Organizers are using the state's policies on the issue to prompt further action ahead of United Nations climate-change conferences in Peru and Paris.

"Countries and regions need to learn from the many successful initiatives pioneered in California and elsewhere," Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon wrote in a welcome message to those at the meeting in Sacramento.

During his tenure, Schwarzenegger signed California's landmark 2006 global-warming law, which paved the way for the state's cap-and-trade system for controlling greenhouse-gas emissions by the worst polluters.

Monday's gathering featured research experts, businesses executives from Apple Inc. and UPS Inc., as well as actor-activist Ed Begley Jr.

Later Monday, Schwarzenegger lifted the curtain on his official portrait at a ceremony in the state Capitol, revealing a photograph-like giant image of the onetime bodybuilder standing in front of the official California seal.

The portrait, which will eventually hang on the third floor, was done by Austrian artist Gottfried Helnwein, a realist who previously illustrated Andy Warhol and John F. Kennedy.

True to his outsized life, Schwarzenegger's portrait is larger than those of other modern-day governors, roughly half a foot (15 centimeters) wider and a foot (30 centimeters) taller than his predecessor, according to the Department of General Services. The former governor paid for the portrait himself at an undisclosed cost.

Schwarzenegger, a movie star before he ran for governor in the chaotic recall election of 2005, said he owes all his successes in life to California, which he called a mythical place "where nothing is impossible." As a boy growing up in Austria, he dreamed about the state, he said.

Two of Schwarzenegger's five children attended the unveiling, Christopher, 16, and Patrick, 20,

As governor, Schwarzenegger had promised to bring fiscal accountability, but the state faced a huge budget deficit when he left office. Brown has been credited with passing a tax increase, cutting services and bringing the budget back in balance.

Months after Schwarzenegger left office, embarrassing revelations emerged about an affair he had with his maid that resulted in a son born out of wedlock. The disclosure devastated his marriage to Maria Shriver.

Since then, Schwarzenegger has largely committed to a Hollywood comeback. He appeared in this summer's "The Expendables 3," and returns to his cyborg assassin character in a new "Terminator" film due out next year.

Schwarzenegger previously told The Associated Press that he has no plans to run for elected office again.

"I never wanted to be a career politician," he said.

Associated Press

Updated Date: Sep 09, 2014 10:19:56 IST