Arnold Schwarzenegger just came up with a climate change argument that’s hard to argue with

As a rule of thumb, Republicans aren’t mad keen on climate change science. It’s not just Donald Trump – almost all of the Republican presidential nominations are, to varying degrees of oddball, against the need to act on global warming.

That shouldn’t be a surprise. As John Cook, author of Climate Change Science: A Modern Synthesis, told Reddit in a recent Ask Me Anything: “A number of empirical studies (including my own PhD research) have found an extremely strong correlation between conservative political ideology and denial of science. And randomised experiments have demonstrated a causal relationship between the two.”

There are exceptions, however, and one of those is Arnold Schwarzenegger. The former action movie star and governor of California (long gone are the days when those career paths were mutually exclusive) has written a stinging, but brilliant, Facebook post aimed squarely at those who deny the climate science.

Entitled “I don’t give a damn if we agree about climate change”, the former Republican governor challenges the deniers to embrace renewable energy sources, even if the majority of scientists turn out to be wrong: “Let’s put climate change aside for a minute. In fact, let’s assume you’re right,” he begins.

He then proceeds to ask climate sceptics three questions: “First – do you believe it is acceptable that 7 million people die every year from pollution? That’s more than murders, suicides, and car accidents combined.”schwarzenegger_and_crocodile_climate_change

The second tackles the fact that fossil fuels are going to end eventually anyway, an argument that Elon Musk has made before: “Do you believe coal and oil will be the fuels of the future? Besides the fact that fossil fuels destroy our lungs, everyone agrees that eventually they will run out. What’s your plan then?”

The final question is longer, and as Schwarzenegger himself concedes, a bit more imaginative. “There are two doors. Behind Door Number One is a completely sealed room, with a regular, gasoline-fueled car. Behind Door Number Two is an identical, completely sealed room, with an electric car. Both engines are running full blast.”

“I want you to pick a door to open, and enter the room and shut the door behind you. You have to stay in the room you choose for one hour. You cannot turn off the engine. You do not get a gas mask.”

Perhaps the best statement Schwarzenegger makes, though, is about the futility of clinging on to the past. “I don’t want to be like the last horse and buggy salesman who was holding out as cars took over the roads. I don’t want to be the last investor in Blockbuster as Netflix emerged. That’s exactly what is going to happen to fossil fuels.”

“A clean energy future is a wise investment, and anyone who tells you otherwise is either wrong, or lying. Either way, I wouldn’t take their investment advice,” he adds.

This, as social psychologist Jonathan Haidt has suggested, is actually quite a clever way of making those ideologically opposed care about a problem. In his TED Talk, “How common threats can make common (political) ground”, Haidt discusses how disparate groups can care about the same issues, if framed correctly.

One 2012 UC Berkeley study suggested that conservatives are likely to be more persuaded about environmental issues when talked about in terms reflecting the “purity” and “sanctity” of the Earth. It will be interesting to see if Arnie’s future-looking intervention will win over any conservative hearts and minds.

READ THIS NEXT: COP21: Everything you need to know about the Paris climate conference.

Images: so Austria and Gage Skidmore used under Creative Commons

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Disclaimer: Some pages on this site may include an affiliate link. This does not effect our editorial in any way.