Schwarzenegger launches state initiative to terminate pollution — with or without Trump

Former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger attends the Austrian World Summit on climate change in Vienna, Austria, June 20, 2017. (Photo: Heinz-Peter Bader/Reuters)

Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is unveiling an environmental handbook to help state legislators enact policies that help in the fight against climate change and protect clean air — regardless of the White House’s actions.

The Hollywood movie star is scheduled to present his new Digital Environmental Legislative Handbook to 125 legislative leaders during his keynote address at the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators on Friday in Cambridge, Mass.

Schwarzenegger is set to tell the lawmakers that they do not need to wait around for Washington before taking decisive, bipartisan actions to protect the environment.

“Legislative leaders in state capitals across the United States are filling the vacuum left by Washington, especially when it comes to passing laws that protect the environment and promote economic growth,” Schwarzenegger said in a statement.

This initiative comes at a time when the U.S. government’s commitment fighting climate change is in question. President Trump has long dismissed climate-change science and has publicly ridiculed Schwarzenegger on other issues. At the start of June, he announced that the U.S. would withdraw from the Paris Agreement.

Jeff Mauk, the executive director of the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators, told Yahoo News that his group was developing the handbook long before last year’s presidential election. But he said state action is more important now than ever before.

“Each state is going to find solutions that match its economy and needs,” he said. “People from all across the spectrum are recognizing the economic benefits: both of addressing climate change before it becomes a more expensive problem and the job growth available from the new energy economy.”

Former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger delivers a speech at the Austrian World Summit on climate change in Vienna, Austria, June 20, 2017. (Photo: Heinz-Peter Bader/Reuters)

The USC Schwarzenegger Institute, dedicated to advancing post-partisan solutions to a slate of policy issues, worked with the environmental legislative caucus to develop the online resource Schwarzenegger will roll out Friday: a curated list of important information about bills regarding air quality, human health, climate change, energy efficiency and renewable energy.

Mauk said his organization is always looking for ways to provide more resources to their members, more than 1,000 members from both parties in all 50 states.

“This issue cannot be solved by just one party. It’s going to take bi-partisan cooperation from across the country. It’s going to be all hands on deck to take care of this,” he said. “The good news is that there are a lot of Republicans like Arnold Schwarzenegger and many within our network who are actively looking for solutions.”

During his keynote speech, Schwarzenegger is expected to cite examples from California and other states that passed environmental protection laws. As governor, Schwarzenegger pushed for Assembly Bill 32 (California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006), which established a cap-and-trade system to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Bonnie Reiss, the global director of the USC Schwarzenegger Institute, said in a statement that the new digital toolkit is aimed at lawmakers at all levels of government to help them craft informed laws and make smart decisions.

“The United Nations recognized the powerful and important work taking place at the subnational level at the COP 21 Summit in Paris and acknowledged that the success of the international agreement — signed by over 190 countries — depends on the actions of state and regional governments,” she said.

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