Arnold Schwarzenegger Slams World Leaders As 'Stupid' or 'Liars' Over Climate Policies

Former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has slammed world leaders ahead of the COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow, which President Joe Biden is set to attend.

The star of The Terminator told BBC Radio 4 on Friday that politicians who said tackling climate change would cost jobs were "liars" or stupid."

Schwarzenegger, who was the Republican governor of California from 2003 to 2011, told the BBC program 39 Ways to Save the Planet that his state was showing how to deal with climate change while growing the economy.

Asked what he saw as potential solutions to climate change, Schwarzenegger pointed to offshore windfarms in California as well as getting more electric cars on the road.

"California is sizzling and what we're so happy about is that we are proving simultaneously that it is the best job creator when you go green," he said.

"We have had an increase in job creation since 1990, about 35 percent in [the] green sector, for instance. And at the same time, we're No 1 economically in the United States with a GDP of $3.3 trillion," he said.

According to Forbes, California had a gross state product of $3.1 trillion in 2019, which would make it the fifth largest economy in the world. This would put it one place ahead of the U.K., where COP26 is taking place.

"It shows you that you can protect the environment and you can protect the economy at the same time," Schwarzenegger said.

Schwarzenegger had strong criticism for world leaders who said solutions to climate change were a threat to their economies.

"So, all of those countries that come and give speeches—'We're not gonna go and lose jobs because of this going green,' they're always like—they're liars. They are just stupid and they don't know how and it's all about having the balls to do it."

Schwarzenegger has previously expressed pessimism about President Biden's trip to COP26, which begins in Glasgow on Sunday, October 31.

At an environmental conference on Wednesday, he mentioned former President Bill Clinton, who signed the Kyoto Protocol on greenhouse gas emissions in 1998. The Senate did not approve the protocol.

"Same thing: Biden can go over to Glasgow and he can promise everything," Schwarzenegger said. "But as you could see, he cannot get anything passed right now.

"So, what does a promise and a pledge mean in the end? Nothing. Over and over, year after year, they make these pledges and they come out to declare victory, but then nothing is getting done. And so this is what I'm worried about," he said.

Schwarzenegger's comments come as Pope Francis urged leaders at COP26 to "offer concrete hope to future generations." Biden will meet the pope in Rome on Friday.

Schwarzenegger Arrives for a Meeting with Macron
Arnold Schwarzenegger arrives for a meeting with President Emmanuel Macron of France on December 12, 2017. Schwarzenegger has criticized world leaders who say action on climate change threatens jobs. Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images